Genetic analysis of the O7-polysaccharide biosynthesis region from the Escherichia coli O7:K1 strain VW187

C L Marolda, J Welsh, L Dafoe, M A Valvano

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We recently cloned biosynthesis genes for the O7-lipopolysaccharide (O7-LPS) side chain from the Escherichia coli K-1 strain VW187 (M. A. Valvano, and J. H. Crosa, Infect. Immun. 57:937-943, 1989). To characterize the O7-LPS region, the recombinant cosmids pJHCV31 and pJHCV32 were mutagenized by transposon mutagenesis with Tn3HoHo1, which carries a promoterless lac operon and can therefore generate lacZ transcriptional fusions with target DNA sequences. Cells containing mutated plasmids were examined for their ability to react by coagglutination with O7 antiserum. The LPS pattern profiles of the insertion mutants were also investigated by electrophoresis of cell envelope fractions, followed by silver staining and immunoblotting analysis. These experiments identified three phenotypic classes of mutants and defined a region in the cloned DNA of about 14 kilobase pairs that is essential for O7-LPS expression. Analysis of beta-galactosidase production by cells carrying plasmids with transposon insertions indicated that transcription occurs in only one direction along the O7-LPS region. In vitro transcription-translation experiments revealed that the O7-LPS region encodes at least 16 polypeptides with molecular masses ranging from 20 to 48 kilodaltons. Also, the O7-LPS region in VW187 was mutagenized by homologous recombination with subsets of the cloned O7-LPS genes subcloned into a suicide plasmid vector. O7-LPS-deficient mutants of VW187 were complemented with pJHCV31 and pJHCV32, confirming that these cosmids contain genetic information that is essential for the expression of the O7 polysaccharide.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3590-9
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Bacteriology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1990


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