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Infect Immun. 1989 May;57(5):1391-8.

Cloning of regions required for contact hemolysis and entry into LLC-MK2 cells from Shigella sonnei form I plasmid: virF is a positive regulator gene for these phenotypes.

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  • 1Department of Bacteriology, National Institute of Health, Tokyo, Japan.


Two distinct regions required for both contact hemolysis and entry into LLC-MK2 cells were cloned into Escherichia coli from the Shigella sonnei form I plasmid, pSS120. The first region was cloned into an E. coli HB101 strain containing noninvasive Tn1 insertion mutants of the form I plasmid, and expression of ipa (invasion plasmid antigen) gene products was restored. The plasmid carrying the first region was then transformed into E. coli lacking the form I plasmid, and additional DNA fragments from the form I plasmid were cloned into the same recipient on compatible vectors. Five of these double transformants were found to be positive for contact hemolysis activity. Restriction analysis of these five clones indicated that the previously reported ipa locus and the invA locus were present on the second plasmid region. Only the strains carrying both of these regions were active in contact hemolysis and cell invasion assays. Several proteins, including the a, b, c, and d proteins encoded by the ipa genes, were detected in the double transformants by Western blot (immunoblot) analysis with serum of a monkey convalescing from shigellosis. A positive regulator was suggested to exist in the first region, since the amounts of most of these proteins were simultaneously increased in the presence of this region. Subcloning and nucleotide sequencing indicated that this positive regulator gene was virF. Product analysis of the virF gene with minicells showed that two peptides (30 and 21 kilodaltons) were synthesized and that at least the 30-kilodalton protein was essential for regulation of the ipa genes.

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