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Mol Microbiol. 1993 Jul;9(2):309-21.

Genetic organization and sequence of the rfb gene cluster of Yersinia enterocolitica serotype O:3: similarities to the dTDP-L-rhamnose biosynthesis pathway of Salmonella and to the bacterial polysaccharide transport systems.

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Department of Medical Microbiology, Turku University, Finland.


The Yersinia enterocolitica O:3 lipopolysaccharide O-antigen is a homopolymer of 6-deoxy-L-altrose. The cloned rfb region was sequenced, and 10 open reading frames were identified. Transposon mutagenesis, deletion analysis and transcomplementation experiments showed that eight of the genes, organized into two operons, rfbABC and rfbDEFGH, are essential for O-antigen synthesis. Functional tandem promoters were identified upstream of both operons. Of the deduced polypeptides RfbA, RfbF and RfbG were similar to Salmonella proteins involved in the dTDP-L-rhamnose biosynthesis. Rhamnose and 6-deoxy-L-altrose are C3-epimers suggesting that analogous pathways function in their biosynthesis. RfbD and RfbE were similar to capsular polysaccharide export proteins, e.g. KpsM and KpsT of Escherichia coli. This and transposon mutagenesis showed that RfbD and RfbE function as O-antigen exporters.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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