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J Bacteriol. Jun 1988; 170(6): 2575–2583.
PMCID: PMC211174

A novel suicide vector and its use in construction of insertion mutations: osmoregulation of outer membrane proteins and virulence determinants in Vibrio cholerae requires toxR.


The toxR gene of Vibrio cholerae encodes a transmembrane, DNA-binding protein that activates transcription of the cholera toxin operon and a gene (tcpA) for the major subunit of a pilus colonization factor. We constructed site-directed insertion mutations in the toxR gene by a novel method employing the chromosomal integration of a mobilizable suicide plasmid containing a portion of the toxR coding sequence. Mutants containing these new toxR alleles had an altered outer membrane protein profile, suggesting that two major outer membrane proteins (OmpT and OmpU) might be under the control of toxR. Physiological studies indicated that varying the concentration of the amino acids asparagine, arginine, glutamate, and serine caused coordinate changes in the expression of cholera toxin, TcpA, OmpT, and OmpU. Changes in the osmolarity of a tryptone-based medium also produced coordinate changes in the expression of these proteins. Other environmental signals (temperature and pH) had a more pronounced effect on the expression of cholera toxin and TcpA than they did on the outer membrane proteins. These results suggest that certain environmental signals (i.e., osmolarity and the presence of amino acids) are tightly coupled to the expression of toxR-regulated proteins and therefore may be signals that are directly sensed by the ToxR protein.

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