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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

CTXphi contains a hybrid genome derived from tandemly integrated elements.

CTXphi is a filamentous, temperate bacteriophage whose genome includes ctxAB, the genes that encode cholera toxin. In toxigenic isolates of Vibrio cholerae, tandem arrays of prophage DNA, usually interspersed with the related genetic element RS1, are integrated site-specifically within the chromosome. We have discovered that these arrays routinely yield hybrid virions, composed of DNA from two adjacent prophages or from a prophage and a downstream RS1. Coding sequences are always derived from the 5' prophage whereas most of an intergenic sequence, intergenic region 1, is always derived from the 3' element. The presence of tandem elements is required for production of virions: V. cholerae strains that contain a solitary prophage rarely yield CTX virions, and the few virions detected result from imprecise excision of prophage DNA. Thus, generation of the replicative form of CTXphi, pCTX, a step that precedes production of virions, does not depend on reversal of the process for site-specific integration of CTXphi DNA into the V. cholerae chromosome. Production of pCTX also does not depend on RecA-mediated homologous recombination between adjacent prophages. We hypothesize that the CTXphi-specific proteins required for replication of pCTX can also function on a chromosomal substrate, and that, unlike the processes used by other integrating phages, production of pCTX and CTXphi does not require excision of the prophage from the chromosome. Use of this replication strategy maximizes vertical transmission of prophage DNA while still enabling dissemination of CTXphi to new hosts.[1]


  1. CTXphi contains a hybrid genome derived from tandemly integrated elements. Davis, B.M., Waldor, M.K. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (2000) [Pubmed]
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