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J Bacteriol. Apr 1987; 169(4): 1509–1515.
PMCID: PMC211976

The secreted hemolysins of Proteus mirabilis, Proteus vulgaris, and Morganella morganii are genetically related to each other and to the alpha-hemolysin of Escherichia coli.

Abstract

Secreted hemolysins were extremely common among clinical isolates of Proteus mirabilis, Proteus vulgaris, and Morganella morganii, and hemolytic activity was either cell associated or cell free. Southern hybridization of total DNA from hemolytic isolates to cloned regions of the Escherichia coli alpha-hemolysin (hly) determinant showed clear but incomplete homology between genes encoding production of hemolysins in the four species. One of the two E. coli secretion genes, hlyD, hybridized only with DNA from P. vulgaris and M. morganii, which produced cell-free hemolysis, but not with that from P. mirabilis, which showed only cell-associated activity. Molecular cloning of the genetic determinants of cell-free hemolytic activity from P. vulgaris and M. morganii chromosomal DNA allowed their functional analysis via inactivation with the transposons Tn1000 and Tn5. Both hemolysin determinants were about 7.5 kilobase pairs and comprised contiguous regions directing regulation, synthesis, and specific secretion out of the cell. Transposon mutations which eliminated secretion of the Proteus and Morganella hemolysins could be complemented specifically by the E. coli hemolysin secretion genes hlyB or hlyD. Alignment of the physically and functionally defined hly determinants from P. vulgaris and M. morganii with that of the E. coli alpha-hemolysin confirmed a close genetic relationship but also indicated extensive evolutionary divergence.

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Selected References

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