The genetic differences between the human pathogen, Shigella flexneri, and the non-pathogenic Escherichia coli were investigated in an attempt to identify pathogenicity islands (PAIs) in the S. flexneri genome. Genomic subtraction identified a large unique region of DNA which was present in S. flexneri serotype 2a but absent from E. coli K-12. This 42-kb DNA segment was localised to the S. flexneri chromosome and was found to contain a number of elements often associated with PAIs including: insertion sequence elements, bacteriophage genes, and a previously identified Shigella virulence gene (criR). These findings indicate that this region may form a new PAI in the S. flexneri genome. © 2002 Federation of European Microbiological Societies. Published by Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
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