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Gene. 1995 Oct 16;164(1):17-23.

Sequence and analysis of the O antigen gene (rfb) cluster of Escherichia coli O111.

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Department of Microbiology, University of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.


The O antigens found in Salmonella enterica (Se) and Escherichia coli (Ec) show a great deal of diversity, and only three structures are known to be common to both genera. Two of them contain the 3,6-dideoxyheoxse colitose, not found in other serogroups of the two species. The first of these is common to Ec O111 and Se O:35 (sv Adelaide); the other is found in both Ec O55 and Se O:50 (sv Greenside). The genes specific for the synthesis of O antigen are generally located in the rfb gene cluster at map position 45 min in Ec and 42 min in Se. The rfb (O antigen) gene cluster of an Ec O111 strain M92 had been cloned earlier and hybridisation analysis suggested that the rfb clusters of Ec M92 and a Se sv Adelaide strain had been acquired separately by the two species since their divergence. We have now sequenced part of the rfb cluster from Ec M92. We identify two genes of the GDP-colitose pathway, rfbM and rfbK, and show that several other ORFs have similarity to the rfb and cps (capsular polysaccharide) genes. Downstream of this block of genes is an ORF which encodes a protein with predicted transmembrane segments which is presumed to correspond to the rfbX gene. The % G+C values of the Ec M92 rfb sequence are extremely low, indicating that the rfb evolved in a low % G+C species of bacteria before transfer into Ec.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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