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Ann Microbiol (Paris). 1983 May-Jun;134A(3):295-318.

Molecular comparison of virulence plasmids in Shigella and enteroinvasive Escherichia coli.


Virulent isolates of Shigella dysenteriae and Shigella boydii harboured a 140 Mdal plasmid which was either absent or deleted in spontaneously avirulent strains. Together with previous data concerning S. sonnei, S. flexneri and enteroinvasive Escherichia coli, the present results established the general role of extrachromosomal elements in the virulence of such enteroinvasive species. Among different species, these virulence plasmids showed unrelated endonuclease cleavage patterns, whereas hybridization experiments showed that homologous sequences were present throughout the molecules. These plasmids may therefore have derived from a common ancestor molecule which overcame evolutionary alterations in restriction sites. Furthermore, intraspecies and intraserotype comparison of these plasmids by endonuclease cleavage demonstrated highly conserved sequences. The consequences of these data for evolution, epidemiology and diagnosis of Shigella and enteroinvasive E. coli are discussed.

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