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Mol Gen Genet. 1993 May;239(1-2):188-95.

Cloning and sequencing of a gene involved in the synthesis of the capsular polysaccharide of Streptococcus pneumoniae type 3.

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Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas, CSIC, Madrid, Spain.


A 4.5 kb ScaI chromosomal DNA fragment of a clinical isolate of Streptococcus pneumoniae serotype 3 was cloned in Escherichia coli. Combined genetic and molecular analyses have allowed the localization, in a 781 bp EcoRV subfragment, of a gene (cap3-1) directly responsible for the transformation of an unencapsulated, serotype 3 mutant to the capsulated phenotype. Comparison of the deduced amino acid sequence of CAP3-1 with the protein sequences compiled in the data banks revealed that the CAP3-1 polypeptide was highly similar to the amino-terminus of the GDP-mannose dehydrogenase of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, an enzyme that participates in the synthesis of the mucoid polysaccharide of this species. In addition, the 32 N-terminal amino acids of CAP3-1 perfectly matched structures common to NAD(+)-binding domains of many dehydrogenases. Our results indicate that the 4.5 kb ScaI fragment might also contain genes common to 13 different pneumococcal serogroups or serotypes tested. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time that a gene of the capsular complex of S. pneumoniae has been cloned and sequenced. The findings reported here provide new insights for the study of the molecular biology of the main virulence factor responsible for the pathogenesis of pneumococcal infections and might represent a basic step in the identification of cross-reactive antigens that should allow the preparation of new and improved vaccines.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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