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The complete sequence and analysis of the large virulence plasmid pSS of Shigella sonnei.

Jiang Y., Yang F., Zhang X., Yang J., Chen L., Yan Y., Nie H., Xiong Z., Wang J., Dong J., Xue Y., Xu X., Zhu Y., Chen S., Jin Q.

The complete sequence of pSS, which is the large virulence plasmid of Shigella sonnei, was determined. The 214-kb plasmid is composed of segments of virulence-associated genes, the O-antigen gene clusters, a range of replication and maintenance genes, and large numbers of insertion sequence (IS) elements. Two hundred and forty-one open reading frames (ORFs) were identified, of which 117 are highly homologous to IS elements or transposases, 57 are homologous to known pathogenesis-associated proteins, and 30 are related to replication, plasmid maintenance, or other metabolic functions. Thirty-seven ORFs have no similarity to proteins with a known function, including two with no significant similarity to any hypothetical proteins. Interestingly, 10 ORFs encoding O-antigen gene clusters were identified on the plasmid and this is markedly different from most other Shigella spp. virulent plasmids. A novel toxin-antitoxin system, a series of stbDE homologs, was found on the plasmid immediately downstream of the replication region; the sole segregation stability system may be responsible for the instability of pSS. The pSS plasmid is a mixture of genes with different origins and functions. The sequence suggests a remarkable history of IS-mediated recombination and acquisition of DNA across a range of bacterial species.

Plasmid 54:149-159(2005) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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