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Gene. 1997 Jun 11;192(1):63-70.

The tcp gene cluster of Vibrio cholerae.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Adelaide, Australia.


The toxin co-regulated pilus (TCP) has been identified as a critical colonization factor in both animal models and humans for Vibrio cholerae O1. The major pilin subunit, TcpA (and also TcpB), is similar to type-4 pilins but TCP probably more appropriately belongs to a sub-class which includes the bundle-forming pilus of enteropathogenic Escherichia coli. The genes for TCP biosynthesis and assembly are clustered with the exception of housekeeping functions such as TcpG (=DsbA, a periplasmic disulfide bond epimerase). The nt sequences from El Tor and classical strains show only minor differences corresponding to the major regulatory regions and in TcpA itself. These differences are thought to account for the alternate conditions required for expression of TCP by the two biotypes and the antigenic variation and lack of cross-protection. Aside from the TcpA only a few of the proteins have had their roles in TCP biogenesis defined. Regulation of TCP is controlled by the ToxR regulon via ToxT with a possible involvement of TcpP and the cAMP-CRP system. Experiments using the infant mouse cholera model have now shown that TCP is a colonization factor and protective antigen for both classical and El Tor O1 strains and in the O139 Bengal serotype and that the mannose-sensitive haemagglutinin pilus does not appear to play a comparable role.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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