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Nature. 1980 Jan 10;283(5743):224-6.

Plasmid-mediated tissue invasiveness in Yersinia enterocolitica.


Plasmids have an important role in the pathogenicity of certain bacterial species, and Escherichia coli provides the most complete example of the relationship involved. Enterotoxigenic strains of E. coli, in addition to producing heat-stable and/or heat-labile enterotoxins, may also produce a haemolysin and fimbriate cell surface antigens which facilitate the adherence of the bacterial cell to the mucosa of the small bowel. Numerous studies have shown that these properties are plasmid-mediated and that the plasmids act in concert to confer on the host bacterium the ability to produce enteric disease in man and in animals. Moreover, studies with invasive strains of E. coli have shown that the Col V plasmid, which codes for the synthesis of colicin V, significantly enhances the pathogenicity of its host bacterium. Although the relationship between Col V plasmids and virulence is unclear, reports indicate that Col V-containing strains of E. coli are better able to survive in the alimentary tract and that colicine V itself inhibits macrophage function. It is probable that bacterial virulence is a complex phenomenon involving both chromosomal and plasmid genes. We describe here a virulence plasmid which mediates tissue invasiveness in human pathogenic strains of Yersinia enterocolitica.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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