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J Bacteriol. 1999 May;181(9):2902-13.

Characterization of the major control region of Vibrio cholerae bacteriophage K139: immunity, exclusion, and integration.

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Zentrum für Infektionsforschung, Universität Würzburg, 97070 Würzburg, Germany.


The temperate bacteriophage K139 is highly associated with pathogenic O1 Vibrio cholerae strains. The nucleotide sequence of the major control region of K139 was determined. The sequences of four (cox, cII, cI, and int) of the six deduced open reading frames and their gene order indicated that K139 is related to the P2 bacteriophage family. Two genes of the lysogenic transcript from the mapped promoter PL encode homologs to the proteins CI and Int, with deduced functions in prophage formation and maintenance. Between the cI and int genes, two additional genes were identified: orf2, which has no significant similarity to any other gene, and the formerly characterized gene glo. Further analysis revealed that Orf2 is involved in preventing superinfection. In a previous report, we described that mutations in glo cause an attenuation effect in the cholera mouse model (J. Reidl and J. J. Mekalanos, Mol. Microbiol. 18:685-701, 1995). In this report, we present strong evidence that Glo participates in phage exclusion. Glo was characterized to encode a 13.6-kDa periplasmic protein which inhibits phage infection at an early step, hence preventing reinfection of vibriophage K139 into K139 lysogenic cells. Immediately downstream of gene int, the attP site was identified. Upon analysis of the corresponding attB site within the V. cholerae chromosome, it became evident that phage K139 is integrated between the flagellin genes flaA and flaC of O1 El Tor and O139 V. cholerae lysogenic strains.

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