Send to

Choose Destination
Gene. 1996 Dec 12;183(1-2):243-53.

Cloning and nucleotide sequence of a flagellin encoding genetic locus from Xenorhabdus nematophilus: phase variation leads to differential transcription of two flagellar genes (fliCD).

Author information

Université Montpellier II, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (URA 1184), France.


The insect-pathogenic bacterium Xenorhabdus undergoes spontaneous phase variation involving a large number of phenotypes. Our previous study indicated that phase I variants were motile, whereas phase II variants of X. nematophilus F1 were nonflagellated cells which did not synthesize flagellin [Givaudan A., Baghdiguian, S., Lanois, A. and Boemare, N. (1995) Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 61, 1408-1413]. In order to approach the study of the flagellar switching, a locus containing two ORFs from X. nematophilus F1 (phase I) was identified by using functional complementation of flagellin-negative E. coli. The sequence analysis revealed that the first ORF corresponds to the fliC gene coding for flagellin, and showed a high degree of homology between the N-terminal and C-terminal of Xenorhabdus FliC and flagellins from other bacteria. The second identified ORF in the opposite orientation encodes a homologue of the enterobacterial hook-associated protein 2, FliD. Both Xenorhabdus fliCD genes were required for the entire restoration of E. coli motility. A sequence highly homologous to the sigma 28 consensus promoter was identified upstream from the coding sequences from both genes. The structure of the fliC gene and its surrounding region was shown to be the same in both phase variants, but Northern blot analysis revealed that fliC and fliD were, respectively, not and weakly transcribed in phase II variants. In addition, complementation experiments showed that motility and flagellin synthesis of phase II cannot be recovered by placing in trans fliCD genes from phase I. These latter results suggest that a gene(s) higher in the transcriptional hierarchy of the flagellar regulon is switched off in Xenorhabdus phase II variants.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center