1887

Abstract

Enterobacteria of the genus are opportunistic human pathogens associated with urinary tract and wound infections, as well as enteric diseases. The lipopolysaccharide (LPS) O antigen confers major antigenic variability upon the cell surface and is used for serotyping of Gram-negative bacteria. Recently, O antigen structures have been extensively studied, but no data on the location and organization of the O antigen gene cluster have been reported. In this study, the four genome sequences available were analysed, and the putative O antigen gene cluster was identified in the polymorphic locus between the and genes. This finding provided the necessary information for designing primers, and cloning and sequencing the O antigen gene clusters from five more strains. The gene functions predicted were in agreement with the known O antigen structures; furthermore, annotation of the genes involved in the three-step synthesis of GDP-colitose (, and ) was supported by cloning and biochemical characterization of the corresponding enzymes. In one strain ( O39), no polysaccharide product of the gene cluster in the locus was found, and hence genes for synthesis of the existing O antigen are located elsewhere in the genome. In addition to the putative O antigen synthesis genes, homologues of , , and (in three strains) , required for the surface expression of capsular polysaccharides, were found upstream of in all species except , suggesting that the LPS of these species may be attributed to the so-called K LPS (K). The data obtained open a way for development of a PCR-based typing method for identification of isolates.

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2012-04-01
2021-07-31
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