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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2007 Aug;273(1):58-63. Epub 2007 Jun 6.

Fim operon variation in the emergence of Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli: an evolutionary and functional analysis.

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Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, MO 63110, USA.


Fim operons were examined to illuminate the emergence of Escherichia coli O157:H7 from the less-virulent E. coli O55:H7. A fim invertible element deletion occurred only after O157:H7 descended from O55:H7, and after sorbitol nonfermenting O157 diverged. Type 1 pili nonexpression correlates with this deletion in all enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) tested. An N135K FimH mutation in the two most evolved O157:H7 clusters is not found in other EHEC. These data refine the evolutionary history of an emerging pathogen.

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