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Infect Immun. 2002 Dec;70(12):6567-75.

Pseudomonas fluorescens encodes the Crohn's disease-associated I2 sequence and T-cell superantigen.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, University of California, Los Angeles 90095, USA.


Commensal bacteria have emerged as an important disease factor in human Crohn's disease (CD) and murine inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) models. We recently isolated I2, a novel gene segment of microbial origin that is associated with human CD and that encodes a T-cell superantigen. To identify the I2 microorganism, BLAST analysis was used to identify a microbial homologue, PA2885, a novel open reading frame (ORF) in the Pseudomonas aeruginosa genome. PCR and Southern analysis identified Pseudomonas fluorescens as the originating species of I2, with homologues detectable in 3 of 13 other Pseudomonas species. Genomic cloning disclosed a locus containing the full-length I2 gene (pfiT) and three other orthologous genes, including a homologue of the pbrA/pvdS iron response gene. CD4(+) T-cell responses to recombinant proteins were potent for I2 and pfiT, but modest for PA2885. pfiT has several features of a virulence factor: association with an iron-response locus, restricted species distribution, and T-cell superantigen bioactivity. These findings suggest roles for pfiT and P. fluorescens in the pathogenesis of Crohn's disease.

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