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J Bacteriol. 1997 Oct;179(20):6509-11.

Genetic diversity in temperate bacteriophages of Streptococcus pyogenes: identification of a second attachment site for phages carrying the erythrogenic toxin A gene.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City 73190, USA.


Bacteriophage T12, the prototypic bacteriophage of Streptococcus pyogenes carrying the erythrogenic toxin A gene (speA), integrates into the bacterial chromosome at a gene for a serine tRNA (W. M. McShan, Y.-F. Tang, and J. J. Ferretti, Mol. Microbiol. 23:719-728, 1997). This phage is a member of a group of related temperate phages, and we show here that not all speA-carrying phages in this group use the same attachment site for integration into the bacterial chromosome. Additionally, other phages in the group use the same serine tRNA gene attachment site as phage T12 and yet do not carry speA. The evidence suggests that recombination between phage genomes has been an important means of generating diversity and disseminating virulence-associated genes like speA.

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