1887

Abstract

O-antigen is a component of the outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria and is one of the most variable cell surface constituents, leading to major antigenic variability. The O-antigen forms the basis for bacterial serotyping. In this study, the O-antigen structure of O66 was established, which differs from the known O-antigen structure of O166 only in one linkage (most likely the linkage between the O-units) and -acetylation. The O-antigen gene clusters of O66 and O166 were found to have similar organizations, the only exception being that in O66, the gene is replaced by a non-coding region. The function of the gene in O166 was confirmed by the construction and analysis of deletion and -complementation mutants. It is proposed that a functional gene located outside the O-antigen gene cluster is involved in O66 O-antigen biosynthesis, as has been reported previously in serogroups A, B and D1. The sequence identity for the corresponding genes between the O-antigen gene clusters of O66 and O166 ranges from 64 to 70 %, indicating that they may originate from a common ancestor. It is likely that after the species divergence, O66 got its specific O-antigen form by inactivation of the gene located in the O-antigen gene cluster and acquisition of two new genes (a gene and a prophage gene for -acetyl modification) both residing outside the O-antigen gene cluster.

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2010-06-01
2020-01-19
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