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Plasmid. 1988 Jul;20(1):42-53.

Cloning, sequencing, and expression in Ficoll-generated minicells of an Escherichia coli heat-stable enterotoxin gene.

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Department of Microbiology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas 75235.


The gene encoding a heat-stable enterotoxin of Escherichia coli was cloned as a 960-bp fragment from a plasmid isolated from a Mexican strain of human origin. Deoxyribonucleotide sequencing unveiled a 216-bp open reading frame similar to that of a previously sequenced ST-toxin gene. The gene is preceded by a proposed binding site for the cAMP-mediated positive regulator (CAP) that is part of a 23-bp inverted repeat. The proposed CAP site is followed by a 6A, 1T, and 6A deoxyribonucleotides. Minicells containing the toxin gene, which were isolated from Ficoll gradients, shown to preserve the localization of intracellular and periplasmic enzymes, allowed the detection of a biosynthetically radiolabeled polypeptide with an apparent Mr 8400. The data suggest that the enterotoxin genes estA2, estA3, and estA4 are very similar, even in clinical strains isolated from distinct geographical locations; that the transcription of heat-stable enterotoxin genes is controlled by the cAMP-mediated positive regulatory system, and that the heat-stable enterotoxins are initially synthesized as 72 amino acid precursors to yield the extracellular active 18-19 amino acid polypeptides.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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