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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2004 May 1;234(1):125-32.

The O-antigen gene cluster of Shigella boydii O11 and functional identification of its wzy gene.

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TEDA School of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology, Nankai University, 23Hong Da Street, TEDA, Tianjin 300457, PR China.


Shigella strains are human pathogens and their identification is usually based on their O-antigens. The O-antigen gene cluster of Shigella boydii O11 was sequenced. All the expected genes for the synthesis of the O-antigen were identified on the basis of homology and genes for the biosynthesis of dTDP-l-Rhamnose, genes encoding sugar transferases, as well as genes encoding O unit flippase (wzx) and O-antigen polymerase (wzy). The identity of the putative wzy gene was confirmed by showing that a wzy deficient mutant strain of S. boydii O11 produced a semi-rough LPS phenotype. The predicted wzx gene has an opposite transcription direction to that of all of the other genes in the S. boydii O11 O-antigen gene cluster. This unusual feature for the wzx gene has only previously been reported in S. boydii O6. Further comparison revealed an evolutionary relationship between O6 and O11 O-antigen gene clusters. Adjacent-gene PCR showed that Escherichia coli O105 and S. boydii O11, which share the identical O-antigen, also have the same genes and organization for their respective O-antigen gene clusters. Three genes specific for the S. boydii O11 and E. coli O105 gene clusters were identified.

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