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J Bacteriol. 2003 Sep;185(17):5182-91.

The SopEPhi phage integrates into the ssrA gene of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium A36 and is closely related to the Fels-2 prophage.

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  • 1Institute for Microbiology, D-BIOL, ETHZ, Schmelzbergstrasse 7, 8092 Zürich, Switzerland.


Salmonella spp. are enteropathogenic gram-negative bacteria that use a large array of virulence factors to colonize the host, manipulate host cells, and resist the host's defense mechanisms. Even closely related Salmonella strains have different repertoires of virulence factors. Bacteriophages contribute substantially to this diversity. There is increasing evidence that the reassortment of virulence factor repertoires by converting phages like the GIFSY phages and SopEPhi may represent an important mechanism in the adaptation of Salmonella spp. to specific hosts and to the emergence of new epidemic strains. Here, we have analyzed in more detail SopEPhi, a P2-like phage from Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium DT204 that encodes the virulence factor SopE. We have cloned and characterized the attachment site (att) of SopEPhi and found that its 47-bp core sequence overlaps the 3' terminus of the ssrA gene of serovar Typhimurium. Furthermore, we have demonstrated integration of SopEPhi into the cloned attB site of serovar Typhimurium A36. Sequence analysis of the plasmid-borne prophage revealed that SopEPhi is closely related to (60 to 100% identity over 80% of the genome) but clearly distinct from the Fels-2 prophage of serovar Typhimurium LT2 and from P2-like phages in the serovar Typhi CT18 genome. Our results demonstrate that there is considerable variation among the P2-like phages present in closely related Salmonella spp.

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