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Corynebacterium ulcerans 0102 carries the gene encoding diphtheria toxin on a prophage different from the C. diphtheriae NCTC 13129 prophage

DOI: 10.1186/1471-2180-12-72

Keywords: Bacteriophage, Toxin gene, Horizontal gene transfer, Diphtheria, Zoonosis

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We determined the whole genome sequence of the toxigenic C. ulcerans 0102 isolated in Japan. The genomic sequence showed a striking similarity with that of Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis and, to a lesser extent, with that of C. diphtheriae. The 0102 genome contained three distinct prophages. One of these, ΦCULC0102-I, was a tox-positive prophage containing genes in the same structural order as for tox-positive C. diphtheriae prophages. However, the primary structures of the individual genes involved in the phage machinery showed little homology between the two counterparts.Taken together, these results suggest that the tox-positive prophage in this strain of C. ulcerans has a distinct origin from that of C. diphtheriae NCTC 13129.


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