Staphylococcal enterotoxin A is encoded by phage

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Science  12 Jul 1985:
Vol. 229, Issue 4709, pp. 185-187
DOI: 10.1126/science.3160112


The gene for staphylococcal enterotoxin A (entA), in two wild-type strains, is carried by related temperate bacteriophages. Hybridization analysis of DNA from entA-converting phage PS42-D and its bacterial host suggests that this phage integrates into the bacterial chromosome by circularization and reciprocal crossover (the Campbell model) and that the entA gene is located near the phage attachment site. DNA from three of eight staphylococcal strains that did not produce enterotoxin A and seven wild-type enterotoxin A-producing (EntA+) strains had extensive homology to the entA-converting phage PS42-D DNA, although there was a high degree of restriction-fragment length polymorphisms. At least one EntA+ strain did not produce detectable viable phage after induction. These data indicate that a polymorphic family of Staphylococcus aureus phages (some of which may be defective) can carry the entA gene.

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