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Infect Immun. 1992 Jun;60(6):2182-7.

Gene block encoding production of cytotoxic necrotizing factor 1 and hemolysin in Escherichia coli isolates from extraintestinal infections.

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Laboratorio di Ultrastrutture, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy.


Cytotoxic necrotizing factors (CNFs) are Escherichia coli protein toxins causing cell multinucleation and enlargement in tissue cultures and necrosis in rabbit skin. In E. coli isolates causing urinary tract infections in humans, the production of CNF1 is closely associated with hemolysin production. In this study, we obtained data suggesting that this phenotypic association is due to the genetic linkage of the determinants of the two toxins on the chromosome of uropathogenic E. coli. The genes encoding hemolysin and CNF1 were shown to be closely linked in a 37-kb cloned DNA fragment from an E. coli urinary tract isolate of serotype O4:K12:H5 (E-B35). A DNA region encoding CNF1 production but not hemolysin production was further subcloned as a 12-kb SalI-EcoRI fragment and used as a CNF1-specific gene probe. DNA hybridization experiments indicated that the CNF1 and hemolysin determinants were closely linked on the chromosomes of isolate E-B35 and six additional extraintestinal isolates belonging to serogroups O2, O4, O6, O22, O75, and O85.

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