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Infect Immun. 2007 Jan;75(1):536-41. Epub 2006 Oct 9.

Role of the wbt locus of Francisella tularensis in lipopolysaccharide O-antigen biogenesis and pathogenicity.

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  • 1Université Paris Descartes, Faculté de Médecine René Descartes, Paris F-75015, France.


Francisella tularensis is a highly infectious bacterial pathogen, responsible for the zoonotic disease tularemia. We screened a bank of transposon insertion mutants of F. tularensis subsp. holarctica LVS for colony morphology alterations and selected a mutant with a transposon insertion in wbtA, the first gene of the predicted lipopolysaccharide O-antigen gene cluster. Inactivation of wbtA led to the complete loss of O antigen, conferred serum sensitivity, impaired intracellular replication, and severely attenuated virulence in the mouse model. Notably, this mutant afforded protection against a challenge against virulent LVS.

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