Shiga toxins 1 and 2 (Stx1 and Stx2) are encoded by prophages lysogenized in enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) O157:H7 strains. Lytic growth of the phage particles carrying the stx1 genes (stx1A and stx1B) of the EHEC O157:H7 strain RIMD 0509952, which was derived from the Sakai outbreak in 1996 in Japan, was induced after treatment with mitomycin C, but the plaque formation of the phage was not detected. We have determined the complete nucleotide sequence of the prophage VT1-Sakai. The integration site of the prophage was identified within the yehV gene at 47.7min on the chromosome. The stx1 genes were downstream of the Q gene in the prophage genome, suggesting that their expression was regulated by the Q protein, the regulator of the late gene expression of the phage, which is similar to that of the stx1 or stx2 genes carried by the lambdoid phages reported previously. The sequences of the N gene and its recognition sites, nutL and nutR, were not homologous to those of the phages carrying the stx genes thus far reported, but they were very similar to those of bacteriophage φ21. The sequences of the repressor proteins, CI and Cro, that regulate expression of the early genes had low similarities with those of the known repressors of other phages, and their operator sequences were different from any sequence reported. These data suggest that multiple genetic recombination among bacteriophages with different immunities took place to generate the prophage VT1-Sakai. Comparison between the sequences of VT1-Sakai and lambda suggests that the ancestor of VT1-Sakai was produced by illegitimate excision, like lambda gal and bio phages. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.
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