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Int J Med Microbiol. 2004 Sep;294(2-3):115-21.

Shiga toxin-encoding bacteriophages--genomes in motion.

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  • 1Institut für Medizinische Mikrobiologie und Hygiene, Medizinische Fakultät Carl Gustav Carus, Technische Universität Dresden, Fetscherstrasse 74, D-01037 Dresden, Germany.

Abstract

Shiga toxins (Stx) represent a group of bacterial toxins that are involved in human and animal disease. Stx are mainly produced by Escherichia coli isolated from human and non-human sources, Shigella dysenteriae type 1, and sporadically, by Citrobacter freundii, Enterobacter cloacae and Shigella flexneri. The genes encoding Stx are encoded in the genome of heterogeneous lambdoid prophages (Stx-converting bacteriophages; Stx-phages). They are located in a similar position in the late region of the prophage genome and stx is under control of phage genes. Therefore, induction of Stx-converting prophages triggers increased production of Stx. Following induction, Stx-phages can infect other bacteria in vivo and in vitro. Stx-phages may be considered to represent highly mobile genetic elements that play an important role in the expression of Stx, in horizontal gene transfer, and hence in genome diversification.

PMID:
15493821
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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