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Science. 1996 Jun 28;272(5270):1910-4.

Lysogenic conversion by a filamentous phage encoding cholera toxin.

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Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Shipley Institute of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


Vibrio cholerae, the causative agent of cholera, requires two coordinately regulated factors for full virulence: cholera toxin (CT), a potent enterotoxin, and toxin-coregulated pili (TCP), surface organelles required for intestinal colonization. The structural genes for CT are shown here to be encoded by a filamentous bacteriophage (designated CTXphi), which is related to coliphage M13. The CTXphi genome chromosomally integrated or replicated as a plasmid. CTXphi used TCP as its receptor and infected V. cholerae cells within the gastrointestinal tracts of mice more efficiently than under laboratory conditions. Thus, the emergence of toxigenic V. cholerae involves horizontal gene transfer that may depend on in vivo gene expression.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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