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Infect Immun. Jun 1996; 64(6): 2070–2078.
PMCID: PMC174038

Prevalence of cytolethal distending toxin production in Campylobacter jejuni and relatedness of Campylobacter sp. cdtB gene.


Campylobacter jejuni produces a toxin called cytolethal distending toxin (CDT). The genes encoding this toxin in C. jejuni 81-176 were cloned and sequenced. The nucleotide sequence of the genes revealed that there are three genes, cdtA, cdtB, and cdtC, encoding proteins with predicted sizes of 30,11-6, 28,989, and 21,157 Da, respectively. All three proteins were found to be related to the Escherichia coli CDT proteins, yet the amino acid sequences have diverged significantly. All three genes were required for toxic activity in a HeLa cell assay. HeLa cell assays of a variety of C. jejuni and C. coli strains suggested that most C. jejuni strains produce significantly higher CDT titers than do C. coli strains. Southern hybridization experiments demonstrated that the cdtB gene is present on a 6.0-kb ClaI fragment in all but one of the C. jejuni strains tested; the cdtB gene was on a 6.9-kb ClaI fragment in one strain. The C. jejuni 81-176 cdtB probe hybridized weakly to DNAs from C. coli strains. The C. jejuni 81-176 cdtB probe did not hybridize to DNAs from representative C. fetus, C. lari, C. "upsaliensis," and C. hyointestinalis strains, although the HeLa cell assay indicated that these strains make CDT. PCR experiments indicated the probable presence of cdtB sequences in all of these Campylobacter species.

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Selected References

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