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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 1997 Jan 15;146(2):279-84.

Cloning and characterization of the gene for the metalloprotease enterotoxin of Bacteroides fragilis.

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Department of Biochemistry and Anaerobic Microbiology, Fralin Biotechnology Center, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg 24061-0346, USA.


The Bacteroides fragilis enterotoxin is an extracellular zinc metalloprotease that has been implicated in diarrheal disease of humans and animals. This toxin causes fluid accumulation in intestinal loops and is cytotoxic for HT-29 cells, an intestinal carcinoma cell line. Here we report the cloning and sequencing of the toxin gene (bftP). bftP is 1191 nucleotides coding for a 397 amino acid protein of 44.4 kDa. The toxin has a signal peptide of 18 amino acids that is typical of many lipoproteins followed by a 379 amino acid protoxin. The portion of the protoxin found in culture filtrates and stools begins at amino acid 212. An additional open reading frame located immediately upstream shows some sequence identity with cobra cytotoxins. If expressed, the ORF protein product could also play a role in the virulence of B. fragilis.

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