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Infect Immun. 2004 Mar;72(3):1496-503.

Evidence for a hybrid genomic island in verocytotoxin-producing Escherichia coli CL3 (serotype O113:H21) containing segments of EDL933 (serotype O157:H7) O islands 122 and 48.

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  • 1Laboratory for Foodborne Zoonoses, Population and Public Health Branch, Health Canada, Guelph, Ontario N1G 3W4, Canada.

Erratum in

  • Infect Immun. 2004 Jul;72(7):4330. Karmal MA [corrected to Karmali MA].


Genomic O island 122 (OI-122) of the verocytotoxin-producing Escherichia coli (VTEC) strain EDL933 contains four putative virulence genes, Z4321, Z4326, Z4332, and Z4333. However, strain CL3 (serotype O113:H21) contains only Z4321, not the other three genes. To determine whether Z4321 is part of a different genomic island in CL3, a region of 27,293 bp up- and downstream of Z4321 was sequenced and found to contain elements of two different EDL933 genomic islands (OI-48 and OI-122) and a Yersinia pestis-like hemolysin/adhesin gene cluster. The region contained OI-48 genes Z1635, Z1636, and Z1637 at the left terminus and Z1641, Z1642, Z1643, and Z1644 at the right. The middle portion consisted of OI-48 gene Z1640, which was separated into three fragments by genomic segments including the Y. pestis cluster and EDL933 OI-122 genes Z4322, Z4321, and Z4318. In a PCR investigation of 36 VTEC strains of different serotypes, intact Z1640 was present in strains of serotypes O157:H7, O26:H11, O103:H2, O111:NM, and O145:NM, which are associated with hemolytic uremic syndrome and outbreaks. In contrast, fragmented Z1640 was seen in strains of nonepidemic serotypes, such as O91:H21 and O113:H21, and in animal serotypes that have not been associated with human disease, indicating that Z1640 might be a virulence gene.

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