1887

Abstract

uses phase variation (PV) to modulate the activity of its defence systems against phage infection. The PV of the restriction–modification (R-M) system HindI, the main defence system against phage infection and incoming chromosomal and phage DNA in Rd, is driven by changes of the pentanucleotide repeat tract within the coding sequence of the gene and is influenced by lack of Dam methylation. Phase-variable resistance/sensitivity to phage infection correlates with changes in lipooligosaccharide (LOS) structure and occurs by slippage of tetranucleotide repeats within the gene , coding for a step in the biosynthesis of LOS. The lack of Dam activity destabilizes the tetranuclotide (5′-CAAT) repeat tract and increases the frequency of switching from sensitivity to resistance to phage infection more than in the opposite direction. The PV of the gene does not influence resistance or sensitivity to phage infection. Insertional inactivation of , but not or , leads to resistance to phage infection and to the same structure of the LOS as observed among phase-variable phage-resistant variants. This indicates that in the Rd LOS only the first two sugars (Glc-Gal) extending from the third heptose are part of bacterial phage receptors.

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2005-10-01
2019-12-12
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