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Comparison of two major forms of the Shigella virulence plasmid pINV: positive selection is a major force driving the divergence.

Lan R., Stevenson G., Reeves P.R.

All Shigella and enteroinvasive Escherichia coli (EIEC) strains carry a 230-kb virulence plasmid (pINV) which is essential for their invasiveness. There are two sequence forms, pINV A and pINV B, of the plasmid (R. Lan, B. Lumb, D. Ryan, and P. R. Reeves, Infect. Immun. 69:6303-6309, 2001), and the recently sequenced pINV plasmid from Shigella flexneri serotype 5 is a pINV B form. In this study we sequenced the majority of the coding region of the pINV A form from S. flexneri serotype 6 other than insertion sequence or related sequences and compared it with the pINV B form. More than half of the genes sequenced appear to be under positive selection based on their low ratio of synonymous to nonsynonymous substitutions. This high proportion of selected differences indicates that the two pINV forms have functional differences, and comparative studies of pathogenicity in different Shigella-EIEC strains could be informative. There are also genes absent in the S. flexneri serotype 6 plasmid, including the sepA gene encoding serine protease, the major secreted protein of S. flexneri serotype 2a, and the stbAB genes, which encode one of the two partition systems found in S. flexneri serotype 5. The incompatibility of the two pINV forms appears to be due to either small differences in the mvpAT postsegregational killing system or the presence of an unknown system in pINVA.

Infect. Immun. 71:6298-6306(2003) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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