The gene of codes for invasin, a member of the invasin/intimin-like protein family, which mediates the internalization of the bacterium into cultured epithelial cells. The putative inclusion of inv into a pathogenicity island was tested by investigating its flanking sequences. Indeed, the enteropathogenic (EPEC) intimin, a member of the same family of proteins, is encoded by a gene which belongs to a pathogenicity island. An ORF located upstream from was of particular interest since it appeared homologous both to the flagellar gene and to an EPEC gene lying inside the same pathogenicity island as eaeA. A mutant in this ORF was non-motile and non-flagellated while its invasion phenotype remained unaffected. These data indicated that the ORF corresponded to the gene of Subsequently, the and genes, located respectively upstream and downstream from were identified. The three genes appear to be transcribed from a single operon called according to the nomenclature used for Intergenic sequence between and includes a grey hole, with no recognizable function. Downstream from we have detected the flagellar operon as already reported. Finally, the incongruous localization of amidst the flagellar cluster is discussed; while transposition could explain this phenomenon, no trace of such an event was detected.


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