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Mol Biol Evol. 2007 Jun;24(6):1355-65. Epub 2007 Mar 30.

The Yersinia kristensenii O11 O-antigen gene cluster was acquired by lateral gene transfer and incorporated at a novel chromosomal locus.

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School of Molecular and Microbial Biosciences, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.


We have sequenced the O-antigen gene clusters for the Escherichia coli O98 and Yersinia kristensenii O11 O antigens. The basic structures of these O antigens are identical, and the sequence data indicate that Y. kristensenii O11 gained its O-antigen gene cluster by lateral gene transfer (LGT). Escherichia coli O98 has a typical O-antigen gene cluster between galF and gnd as is usual in E. coli. However, the O-antigen gene cluster of Y. kristensenii O11 is not located at the traditional Yersinia O-antigen gene cluster locus, between hemH and gsk, but at a novel chromosomal locus between aroA and cmk where it is flanked by remnant galF and gnd genes that indicate the probable source of the gene cluster. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that the source was not E. coli itself but a species in the Escherichia, Salmonella, and Klebsiella group of genera. Although other O-antigen studies imply LGT on the basis of the hypervariability of the loci and GC content, this report also identifies a potential donor and provides evidence for the mechanism involved. Remnant insertion sequence (IS) sequences flank the galF and gnd remnants and suggest that LGT of the gene cluster was IS mediated.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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