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

Cloning and analysis of gene clusters for production of the Escherichia coli K10 and K54 antigens: identification of a new group of serA-linked capsule gene clusters.

The polysaccharide capsules of Escherichia coli have been classified into three groups: I, II, and I/II. The third group, I/II, has been poorly studied and possesses characteristics of both group I and group II capsules. In this report, we describe the cloning of the K10 and K54 capsule gene clusters, two representatives of group I/II capsules. Probes taken from DNA flanking regions 1 and 3 of the group II capsule clusters hybridized to these group I/II clones, confirming that the group I/II capsule genes are flanked by the same DNA and are therefore located in the same serA-linked region of the chromosome as group II capsule gene clusters. Southern blotting showed that homologous sequences were present in both the K10 and K54 capsule gene clusters and in other group I/II strains. No homology was detected between these sequences and the chromosomal DNA of either a group I or a group II strain. Likewise, no homology was detected to the chromosomal DNA of either a K11 or K19 strain, both of which had previously been classified as group I/II strains. In the K10 and K54 capsule gene clusters, these conserved sequences flanked a serotype-specific region in a manner analogous to group II capsule gene organization. Complementation of mutations in the kpsE, kpsD, and kpsC genes in region 1 of the K5 capsule gene cluster by subclones of the K10 and K54 capsule gene clusters indicated that certain stages in the export of group II and I/II capsules may be conserved. In the light of the findings presented here, we suggest that the group I/II capsule gene clusters are sufficiently different from group II capsule gene clusters to justify their renaming as group III.[1]


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