Assessment of Clostridium perfringens pili in vaccine development for controlling necrotic enteritis in chickens

Principal Investigator

Joshua Gong, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Year the work was done


Overall objective

  • To determine if pilin subunits are effective at protecting antigens to control necrotic enteritis in poultry.


  • C. perfringens strains that cause NE produce a pilus, that is essential for development of the disease.
  • Specific genes for pilus proteins of C. perfringens were cloned and overexpressed to produce proteins that were assessed for their ability to evoke an antibody response.
  • These proteins produced significant antibody response and lower necrotic enteritis scores of broilers, but protection against necrotic enteritis was only partial.


  • The recombinant pilin proteins have commercial potential to be developed into a vaccine to control NE in broiler chickens.
  • Further research is required to improve the immunogenicity of the pilus antigens and evaluate its efficacy via immunization routes more amenable to commercial broiler production.

This research applies to

Breeders, Broilers, Layers, Turkeys

This research was supported by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and Canadian Poultry Research Council.