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Mol Microbiol. 1991 Sep;5(9):2223-31.

Molecular cloning and expression in Escherichia coli K-12 of the rfb gene cluster determining the O antigen of an E. coli O111 strain.

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Department of Microbiology, University of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.


The O antigen of Escherichia coli O111 is identical in structure to that of Salmonella enterica serovar adelaide. Another O-antigen structure, similar to that of E. coli O111 and S. enterica serovar adelaide is found in both E. coli O55 and S. enterica serovar greenside. Both O-antigen structures contain colitose, a 3,6 dideoxyhexose found only rarely in the Enterobacteriaceae. The O-antigen structure is determined by genes generally located in the rfb gene cluster. We cloned the rfb gene cluster from an E. coli O111 strain (M92), and the clone expressed O antigen in both E. coli K-12 and a K-12 strain deleted for rfb. Lipopolysaccharide analysis showed that the O antigen produced by strains containing the cloned DNA is polymerized. The chain length of O antigen was affected by a region outside of rfb but linked to it and present on some of the plasmids containing rfb. The rfb region of M92 was analysed and compared, by DNA hybridization, with that of strains with related O antigens. The possible evolution of the rfb genes in these O antigen groups is discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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