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J Clin Microbiol. 1993 Jan; 31(1): 22–25.
PMCID: PMC262614

Use of automated sequencing of polymerase chain reaction-generated amplicons to identify three types of cholera toxin subunit B in Vibrio cholerae O1 strains.


Cholera toxin is the principal factor causing the profuse intestinal fluid secretion that is characteristic of cholera. The DNA sequences of the cholera toxin subunit B structural genes from 45 Vibrio cholerae O1 strains isolated in 29 countries over a period of 70 years were determined by automated DNA sequencing of polymerase chain reaction-generated amplicons. Three types of cholera toxin B subunit gene (ctxB) were identified. Genotype 1 was found in strains of classical biotype worldwide and El Tor biotype strains associated with the U.S. Gulf Coast, genotype 2 was found in El Tor biotype strains from Australia, and genotype 3 was found in El Tor biotype strains from the seventh pandemic and the recent Latin American epidemic. All base changes correspond to an amino acid substitution in the B subunit of the cholera toxin. Heterogenicity in the B subunit could have implications for vaccine development and diagnostic tests for cholera toxin and antitoxin. We conclude that this technology provides timely and potentially useful epidemiological information.

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