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Molecular keys of the tropism of integration of the cholera toxin phage

Abstract : Cholera toxin is encoded in the genome of CTXvarphi, a lysogenic filamentous phage of Vibrio cholerae. CTXvarphi variants contribute to the genetic diversity of cholera epidemic strains. It has been shown that the El Tor variant of CTXvarphi hijacks XerC and XerD, two host-encoded tyrosine recombinases that normally function to resolve chromosome dimers, to integrate at dif1, the dimer resolution site of the larger of the two V. cholerae chromosomes. However, the exact mechanism of integration of CTXvarphi and the rules governing its integration remained puzzling, with phage variants integrated at either or both dimer resolution sites of the two V. cholerae chromosomes. We designed a genetic system to determine experimentally the tropism of integration of CTXvarphi and thus define rules of compatibility between phage variants and dimer resolution sites. We then showed in vitro how these rules are explained by the direct integration of the single-stranded phage genome into the double-stranded bacterial genome. Finally, we showed how the evolution of phage attachment and chromosome dimer resolution sites contributes to the generation of genetic diversity among cholera epidemic strains.
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Bhabatosh Das, Julien Bischerour, Marie-Eve Val, François-Xavier Barre. Molecular keys of the tropism of integration of the cholera toxin phage. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, National Academy of Sciences, 2009, ⟨10.1073/pnas.0910212107⟩. ⟨inserm-01285612⟩



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