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Microbiol Res. 2005;160(3):329-36.

Phg, a novel member of the autotransporter family present in Bordetella species.

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Lehrstuhl für Mikrobiologie, Biozentrum, Universität Würzburg, D-97074 Würzburg, Germany.


Several proteins encoded in the genomes of Bordetella species show significant sequence similarity to the autotransporter domains of surface exposed or secreted virulence factors of bordetellae such as pertactin, tracheal colonization factor or Vag8. One of these putative autotransporters, provisionally termed Phg, is encoded by the pertactin homologous gene (phg), which is highly conserved in Bordetella pertussis, B. bronchiseptica and B. parapertussis, but absent in B. avium and B. petrii. In contrast to homologues with documented functions in host interaction and virulence, several key amino acids probably involved in proteolytic processing of the autotransporter domain are not conserved in Phg. The transcription start site of phg was identified by primer extension analysis, but differential transcription of phg could not be detected in B. bronchiseptica strains under conditions that lead to enhanced expression of other known Bordetella autotransporter proteins. A mutant of B. pertussis was constructed in which major parts of phg are substituted by a kanamycin resistance cassette. Virulence testing of this mutant in a mouse respiratory infection model showed the same colonization properties as the wild-type strain.

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