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Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz. 1998 Sep-Oct;93(5):595-9.

Molecular basis of ribotype variation in the seventh pandemic clone and its O139 variant of Vibrio cholerae.

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Department of Microbiology, University of Sydney, NSW, Australia.


Ribotyping has been widely used to characterise the seventh pandemic clone including South American and O139 variants which appeared in 1991 and 1992 respectively. To reveal the molecular basis of ribotype variation we analysed the rrn operons and their flanking regions. All but one variation detected by BglI, the most discriminatory enzyme, was found to be due to changes within the rrn operons, resulting from recombination between operons. The recombinants are detected because of the presence of a BglI site in the 16S gene in three of the nine rrn operons and/or changes of intergenic spacer types of which four variants were identified. As the frequency of rrn recombination is high, ribotyping becomes a less useful tool for evolutionary studies and long term monitoring of the pathogenic clones of Vibrio cholerae as variation could undergo precise reversion by the same recombination event.

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