Genetic rearrangements in the rfb regions of Vibrio cholerae O1 and O139

Uwe H. Stroeher, Kathy E. Jedani, B. Kate Dredge, Renato Morona, Melissa H. Brown, Litsa E. Karageorgos, M. John Albert, Paul A. Manning

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87 Citations (Scopus)


The recent emergence of a pathogenic new non-01 serotype (O139) of Vibrio cholerae has led to numerous studies in an attempt to identify the origins of this new strain. Our studies indicate that O139 strains have clear differences in the surface polysaccharides when compared with O1 strains: the lipopolysaccharide can be described as semirough. Southern hybridization with the O1 rfb region demonstrates that O139 strains no longer contain any of the rfb genes required for the synthesis of the O1 O-antigen or its modification and also lack at least 6 kb of additional contiguous DNA. However, O139 strains have retained rfaD and have a single open reading frame closely related to three small open reading frames of the O1 rfb region. This region is closely related to the H-repeat of Escherichia coli and to the transposases of a number of insertion sequence elements and has all the features of an insertion sequence element that has been designated VcIS1. Transposon insertion mutants defective in O139 O-antigen (and capsule) biosynthesis map to the same fragment as VcIS1. Preliminary sequence data of complementing clones indicate that this DNA encodes a galactosyl-transferase and other enzymes for the utilization of galactose in polysaccharide biosynthesis. We propose a mechanism by which both the Ogawa serotype of O1 strains and the O139 serotype strains may have evolved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10374-10378
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 24 Oct 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • chromosomal rearrangements
  • H- repeat
  • insertion sequences
  • lipopolysaccharide
  • serotype


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