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The Vibrio cholerae O139 Calcutta bacteriophage CTXphi is infectious and encodes a novel repressor.

ABSTRACT: CTXphi is a lysogenic, filamentous bacteriophage. Its genome includes the genes encoding cholera toxin (ctxAB), one of the principal virulence factors of Vibrio cholerae; consequently, nonpathogenic strains of V. cholerae can be converted into toxigenic strains by CTXphi infection. O139 Calcutta strains of V. cholerae, which were linked to cholera outbreaks in Calcutta, India, in 1996, are novel pathogenic strains that carry two distinct CTX prophages integrated in tandem: CTX(ET), the prophage previously characterized within El Tor strains, and a new CTX Calcutta prophage (CTX(calc)). We found that the CTX(calc) prophage gives rise to infectious virions; thus, CTX(ET)phi is no longer the only known vector for transmission of ctxAB. The most functionally significant differences between the nucleotide sequences of CTX(calc)phi and CTX(ET)phi are located within the phages' repressor genes (rstR(calc) and rstR(ET), respectively) and their RstR operators. RstR(calc) is a novel, allele-specific repressor that regulates replication of CTX(calc)phi by inhibiting the activity of the rstA(calc) promoter. RstR(calc) has no inhibitory effect upon the classical and El Tor rstA promoters, which are instead regulated by their cognate RstRs. Consequently, production of RstR(calc) renders a CTX(calc) lysogen immune to superinfection by CTX(calc)phi but susceptible (heteroimmune) to infection by CTX(ET)phi. Analysis of the prophage arrays generated by sequentially integrated CTX phages revealed that pathogenic V. cholerae O139 Calcutta probably arose via infection of an O139 CTX(ET)phi lysogen by CTX(calc)phi.

PROVIDER: S-EPMC94144 | BioStudies |

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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