1993 Volume 37 Issue 4 Pages 281-288
In cultures of Vibrio cholerae strains of Ogawa serotype, variant strains which had undergone serotype conversion from Ogawa to Inaba were identified. The rfbT genes cloned from the parent strains were found to produce a 31-kDa protein in the maxicell system, and to cause serotype conversion when introduced into E. coli cells expressing Inaba serotype specificity. On the other hand, rfbT genes cloned from the variant strains neither produced the 31-kDa protein nor caused serotype conversion. Nucleotide sequence of these rfbT genes as well as those of two clinical Vibrio cholerae strains of Inaba serotype revealed that mutations causing premature termination of their rfbT genes were invariably present in strains expressing Inaba serotype specificity. The result strongly suggested that genetic alteration of the rfbT gene is responsible for serotype conversion of Vibrio cholerae O1.