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Cell. 1986 Aug 15;46(4):551-5.

A genetic determinant required for continuous reinfection of adjacent cells on large plasmid in S. flexneri 2a.


We have identified a region (virG) on the 230 kb virulence plasmid of S. flexneri that is required for cell-to-cell spread of the bacterium. Tn5 insertions into this region result in avirulent mutants that can initially invade and multiply in epithelial cells, but tend to lose active movement and tend to localize within the cytoplasm, where they are gradually extinguished without infecting adjacent cells. The virG region was localized to within 4 kb and may contain a single cistron. Sequences hybridizing to this region were found in all intact virulence plasmids of Shigellae and enteroinvasive E. coli.

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