Serotype conversion in Vibrio cholerae O1

U. H. Stroeher, L. E. Karageorgos, R. Morona, P. A. Manning

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153 Citations (Scopus)


Vibrio cholerae O1 exists as two major serotypes, Inaba and Ogawa, which are associated with the O antigen of the lipopolysaccharide and are capable of unequal reciprocal interconversion. The 20-kilobase rfb regions encoding O-antigen biosynthesis in strains 569B (Inaba) and O17 (Ogawa) have been cloned in Escherichia coli K-12 and the nucleotide sequences have been determined. Besides several base substitutions and a small deletion in the 569B sequence relative to O17, there is a single nucleotide change resulting in a TGA stop codon within the gene for the 32-kDa RfbT protein. We have demonstrated that rfbT is responsible for serotype conversion (Inaba to Ogawa). The construction of a specific rfbT mutation in the Ogawa strain O17, and the ability of the gene from O17 to complement Inaba strains to Ogawa, confirmed rfbT as the gene required for the Ogawa serotype. By Southern hybridization and sequencing of PCR products of a number of strains, we have shown that the changes observed in one Inaba strain (569B) are not conserved in other Inaba strains. This may explain why some Inaba strains are able to convert to Ogawa whereas others are not. The protein encoded by rfbT has been identified and expressed in E. coli K-12 using a phage T7 expression system. Amino-terminal analysis of partially purified protein has identified the translational start of the protein. Primer extension studies have enabled the 5' end of the mRNA to be defined. It exists as a separate transcript from the rest of the rfb region, and the distinctive G+C content of rfbT suggests that it has been acquired from a non-Vibrio source.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2566-2570
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 1 Jan 1992


  • O antigen
  • cell wall
  • endotoxin
  • lipopolysaccharide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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