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Infect Immun. 1988 Apr;56(4):836-42.

A basic replicon of virulence-associated plasmids of Shigella spp. and enteroinvasive Escherichia coli is homologous with a basic replicon in plasmids of IncF groups.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, Parasitology, Immunology and Mycology, Escola Paulista de Medicina, Sao Paulo, Brazil.


Shigella species and enteroinvasive Escherichia coli strains carry a large (120- to 140-megadalton) plasmid called pINV, which contains genes essential for the invasiveness of these pathogens. Hybridization with specific probes derived from the RepFIC and RepFIB replicons of the IncF1 Ent plasmid P307 showed that pINVs present in 35 clinical isolates are homologous with RepFIC but not RepFIB, regardless of the serogroup of the Shigella or E. coli strain. RepFIC of P307, in turn, is very similar to RepFIIA replicons of IncFII R plasmids. These and other related replicons constitute the RepFIIA family. With one pINV, pWR110, a plasmid of Shigella flexneri 5, we demonstrated the existence of a functional replicon, RepINV, with a restriction map similar to that of RepFIIA of plasmid R1. We isolated the putative inc RNA coding region of RepINV, which is a major determinant of incompatibility. The nucleotide sequence of the RepINV-inc RNA-coding region was determined and compared with the corresponding sequences of RepFIC and RepFIIA. The differences were small, but apparently were sufficient to affect the target specificity of the inc RNAs, thus rendering the replicons compatible with each other. We conclude that pINVs present in Shigella spp. and enteroinvasive E. coli constitute a homogeneous group, containing one basic replicon that belongs to the RepFIIA family of replicons.

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