p32 is an evolutionarily conserved and ubiquitously expressed multifunctional protein. Although p32 exists at diverse intra and extracellular sites, it is predominantly localized to the mitochondrial matrix near the nucleoid associated with mitochondrial transcription factor A. Nonetheless, its function in the matrix is poorly understood. Here, we determined p32 function via generation of p32-knockout mice. p32-deficient mice exhibited mid-gestation lethality associated with a severe developmental defect of the embryo. Primary embryonic fibroblasts isolated from p32-knockout embryos showed severe dysfunction of the mitochondrial respiratory chain, because of severely impaired mitochondrial protein synthesis. Recombinant p32 binds RNA, not DNA, and endogenous p32 interacts with all mitochondrial messenger RNA species in vivo. The RNA-binding ability of p32 is well correlated with the mitochondrial translation. Co-immunoprecipitation revealed the close association of p32 with the mitoribosome. We propose that p32 is required for functional mitoribosome formation to synthesize proteins within mitochondria.
The in vitro susceptibilities of 46 Leptospira isolates from rats to 14 antimicrobial agents were tested. All of the strains were found to be sensitive to ampicillin, cefotaxime, ciprofloxacin, norfloxacin, doxycycline, erythromycin, and streptomycin. In contrast, the tested isolates showed resistance to amphotericin B, 5-fluorouracil, fosfomycin, trimethoprim, sulfamethoxazole, neomycin, and vancomycin. These findings will help in selecting effective and ineffective antimicrobials for treatment of leptospirosis and for the development of new selective media, respectively.
Rats are known to be the most important reservoirs and transmission sources of leptospirosis. However, the status of leptospirosis in the Philippines regarding reservoirs and transmission remains unknown. A survey was conducted in Metro Manila and Laguna that analyzed samples obtained from 106 rats. Using the microscopic agglutination test, we found that 92% of rat serum samples were positive for anti-Leptospira antibodies; the most common infecting serovars were Manilae, Hebdomadis, and Losbanos. On the basis of pulsed-field gel electrophoresis and gyrase B gene sequence analyses, four groups of rat kidney isolates were found: L. interrogans serovar Manilae, serovar Losbanos, and serogroup Grippotyphosa, and L. borgpetersenii serogroup Javanica. Most isolates were lethal after experimental infection of golden Syrian hamsters. Results showed that these four Leptospira serovars and serogroups are circulating among rats, and that these animals may be one of the possible transmission sources of leptospirosis in the Philippines.
Gram-negative bacteria ubiquitously release membrane vesicles (MVs) into the extracellular milieu. Although MVs are the product of growing bacteria, not of cell lysis or death, the regulatory mechanisms underlying MV formation remained unknown. We have found that MV biogenesis is provoked by the induction of PagC, a Salmonella-specific protein whose expression is activated by conditions that mimic acidified macrophage phagosomes. PagC is a major constituent of Salmonella MVs, and increased expression accelerates vesiculation. Expression of PagC is regulated at the posttranscriptional and/or posttranslational level in a sigmaS (RpoS)-dependent manner. Serial quantitative analysis has demonstrated that MV formation can accelerate when the quantity of the MV constituents, OmpX and PagC, rises. Overproduction of PagC dramatically impacts the difference in the relative amount of vesiculation, but the corresponding overproduction of OmpX was less pronounced. Quantitative examination of the ratios of PagC and OmpX in the periplasm, outer membrane, and MVs demonstrates that PagC is preferentially enriched in MVs released from Salmonella cells. This suggests that specific protein sorting mechanisms operate when MVs are formed. The possible role(s) of PagC-MV in host cells is discussed.
Glucose metabolism in Legionella pneumophila was studied by focusing on the Entner-Doudoroff (ED) pathway with a combined genetic and biochemical approach. The bacterium utilized exogenous glucose for synthesis of acid-insoluble cell components but manifested no discernible increase in the growth rate. Assays with permeabilized cell preparations revealed the activities of three enzymes involved in the pathway, i.e., glucokinase, phosphogluconate dehydratase, and 2-dehydro-3-deoxy-phosphogluconate aldolase, presumed to be encoded by the glk, edd, and eda genes, respectively. Gene-disrupted mutants for the three genes and the ywtG gene encoding a putative sugar transporter were devoid of the ability to metabolize exogenous glucose, indicating that the pathway is almost exclusively responsible for glucose metabolism and that the ywtG gene product is the glucose transporter. It was also established that these four genes formed part of an operon in which the gene order was edd-glk-eda-ywtG, as predicted by genomic information. Intriguingly, while the mutants exhibited no appreciable change in growth characteristics in vitro, they were defective in multiplication within eukaryotic cells, strongly indicating that the ED pathway must be functional for the intracellular growth of the bacterium to occur. Curiously, while the deficient glucose metabolism of the ywtG mutant was successfully complemented by the ywtG+ gene supplied in trans via plasmid, its defect in intracellular growth was not. However, the latter defect was also manifested in wild-type cells when a plasmid carrying the mutant ywtG gene was introduced. This phenomenon, resembling so-called dominant negativity, awaits further investigation.
Shiga toxin 1 (Stx1) and Stx2 produced by Escherichia coli O157 are known to be cytotoxic to Vero and HeLa cells by inhibiting protein synthesis and by inducing apoptosis. In the present study, we have demonstrated that 10 ng/ml Stx2 induced DNA fragmentation in human brain microvascular endothelial cells (HBMEC), with cleavage activation of caspase-3, -6, -8, and -9. A microarray approach used to search for apoptotic potential signals in response to Stx2 revealed that Stx2 treatment induced a marked upregulation of C/EBP homologous protein (CHOP)/growth arrest and DNA damage-inducible protein 153 (GADD153). Increased CHOP expression was dependent on enzymatically active Stx1. Knockdown of CHOP mRNA reduced the activation of caspase-3 and prevented apoptotic cell death. These results suggest that Stx2-induced apoptosis is mediated by CHOP in HBMEC and involves activation of both the intrinsic and extrinsic pathways of apoptosis.
Ethidium monoazide (EMA) is a DNA cross-linking agent and eukaryotic topoisomerase II poison. We previously reported that the treatment of EMA with visible light irradiation (EMA + Light) directly cleaved chromosomal DNA of Escherichia coli (T. Soejima, K. Iida, T. Qin, H. Taniai, M. Seki, A. Takade, and S. Yoshida, Microbiol. Immunol. 51:763-775, 2007). Herein, we report that EMA + Light randomly cleaved chromosomal DNA of heat-treated, but not live, Listeria monocytogenes cells within 10 min of treatment. When PCR amplified DNA that was 894 bp in size, PCR final products from 108 heat-treated L. monocytogenes were completely suppressed by EMA + Light. When target DNA was short (113 bp), like the hly gene of L. monocytogenes, DNA amplification was not completely suppressed by EMA + Light only. Thus, we used DNA gyrase/topoisomerase IV and mammalian topoisomerase poisons (here abbreviated as T-poisons) together with EMA + Light. T-poisons could penetrate heat-treated, but not live, L. monocytogenes cells within 30 min to cleave chromosomal DNA by poisoning activity. The PCR product of the hly gene from 108 heat-treated L. monocytogenes cells was inhibited by a combination of EMA + Light and T-poisons (EMA + Light + T-poisons), but those from live bacteria were not suppressed. As a model for clinical application to bacteremia, we tried to discriminate live and antibiotic-treated L. monocytogenes cells present in human blood. EMA + Light + T-poisons completely suppressed the PCR product from 103 to 107 antibiotic-treated L. monocytogenes cells but could detect 102 live bacteria. Considering the prevention and control of food poisoning, this method was applied to discriminate live and heat-treated L. monocytogenes cells spiked into pasteurized milk. EMA + Light + T-poisons inhibited the PCR product from 103 to 107 heat-treated cells but could detect 101 live L. monocytogenes cells. Our method is useful in clinical as well as food hygiene tests.
Streptococcus pneumoniae was shown to possess lactate oxidase in addition to well-documented pyruvate oxidase. The activities of both H2O2-forming oxidases in wild-type cultures were detectable even in the early exponential phase of growth and attained the highest levels in the early stationary phase. For each of these oxidases, a defective mutant was constructed and compared to the parent regarding the dynamics of pyruvate and lactate in aerobic cultures. The results obtained indicated that the energy-yielding metabolism in the wild type could be best described by the following scheme. (i) As long as glucose is available, approximately one-fourth of the pyruvate formed is converted to acetate by the sequential action of pyruvate oxidase and acetate kinase with acquisition of additional ATP; (ii) the rest of the pyruvate is reduced by lactate dehydrogenase to form lactate, with partial achievement of redox balance; (iii) the lactate is oxidized by lactate oxidase back to pyruvate, which is converted to acetate as described above; and (iv) the sequential reactions mentioned above continue to occur as long as lactate is present. As predicted by this model, exogenously added lactate was shown to increase the final growth yield in the presence of both oxidases.
Fifty strains representing 38 species of the genus Legionella were examined for biofilm formation on glass, polystyrene, and polypropylene surfaces in static cultures at 25°C, 37°C, and 42°C. Strains of Legionella pneumophila, the most common causative agent of Legionnaires' disease, were found to have the highest ability to form biofilms among the test strains. The quantity, rate of formation, and adherence stability of L. pneumophila biofilms showed considerable dependence on both temperature and surface material. Glass and polystyrene surfaces gave between two- to sevenfold-higher yields of biofilms at 37°C or 42°C than at 25°C; conversely, polypropylene surface had between 2 to 16 times higher yields at 25°C than at 37°C or 42°C. On glass surfaces, the biofilms were formed faster but attached less stably at 37°C or 42°C than at 25°C. Both scanning electron microscopy and confocal laser scanning microscopy revealed that biofilms formed at 37°C or 42°C were mycelial mat like and were composed of filamentous cells, while at 25°C, cells were rod shaped. Planktonic cells outside of biofilms or in shaken liquid cultures were rod shaped. Notably, the filamentous cells were found to be multinucleate and lacking septa, but a recA null mutant of L. pneumophila was unaffected in its temperature-regulated filamentation within biofilms. Our data also showed that filamentous cells were able to rapidly give rise to a large number of short rods in a fresh liquid culture at 37°C. The possibility of this biofilm to represent a novel strategy by L. pneumophila to compete for proliferation among the environmental microbiota is discussed.
The minimum growth-inhibitory concentrations (MICs) of azole antifungals were compared to their minimum sterol 14α-demethylation-inhibitory concentrations (MDICs) for clinical fungal isolates. The ascomycetous Candida yeasts tested were clearly divided into two groups: group I, consisting of C. albicans, C. tropicalis, and C. lusitaniae, had MICs that were much higher than the MDICs, whereas group II, comprising C. glabrata, C. parapsilosis, C. guilliermondii, and C. krusei, had MICs that were approximately equal to the MDICs. In the ascomycetous fungi Aspergillus fumigatus and Sporothrix schenckii, the MICs were indistinguishable from the MDICs. In the basidiomycetous fungi Cryptococcus (Filobasidiella) neoformans, C. curvatus, and Trichosporon asahii, the MICs and the MDICs were practically identical. These results support the notion that there are two distinct classes of fungi differing in their degree of tolerance to sterol 14α-demethylation deficiency. These findings have significant implications for both fungal physiology and antifungal chemotherapy.
We compared the immune defense of mice with chronic granulomatous disease (CGD mice) with that of wild-type C57BL/6 mice for their response to Sporothrix schenckii. A subcutaneous injection of 5 × 104 CFU S. schenckii strain IFM41598 into CGD mice resulted in systemic infection and death within 84 days. In contrast, injected C57BL/6 mice did not develop systemic infection and were able to survive through 100 days of observation. Differences in host resistance were analyzed in vitro. Neutrophils and macrophages obtained from CGD mice were found to allow greater growth of this organism than did those obtained from C57BL/6 mice. Moreover, macrophages obtained from immunized CGD mice were able to simply inhibit the growth of this fungus whereas macrophages obtained from immunized C57BL/6 mice killed the fungus within 48 h after phagocytosis. These results suggest that (i) the lack of NADPH oxidase function is a risk factor for lethal S. schenckii infection and (ii) superoxide anion and its reactive oxidative metabolites produced by neutrophils and macrophages are involved in fungistatic and fungicidal activities.
Legionella dumoffii is one of the common causes of Legionnaires' disease and is capable of replicating in macrophages. To understand the mechanism of survival within macrophages, transposon mutagenesis was employed to isolate the genes necessary for intracellular growth. We identified four defective mutants after screening 790 transposon insertion mutants. Two transposon insertions were in genes homologous to icmB or dotC, within dot/icm loci, required for intracellular multiplication of L. pneumophila. The third was in a gene whose product is homologous to the 17-kDa antigen forming part of the VirB/VirD4 type IV secretion system of Bartonella henselae. The fourth was in the djlA (for “dnaj-like A”) gene. DjlA is a member of the DnaJ/Hsp40 family. Transcomplementation of the djlA mutant restored the parental phenotype in J774 macrophages, A549 human alveolar epithelial cells, and the amoeba Acanthamoeba culbertsoni. Using confocal laser-scanning microscopy and transmission electron microscopy, we revealed that in contrast to the wild-type strain, L. dumoffii djlA mutant-containing phagosomes were unable to inhibit phagosome-lysosome fusion. Transmission electron microscopy also showed that in contrast to the virulent parental strain, the djlA mutant was not able to recruit host cell rough endoplasmic reticulum. Furthermore, the stationary-phase L. dumoffii djlA mutants were more susceptible to H2O2, high osmolarity, high temperature, and low pH than was their parental strain. These results indicate that DjlA is required for intracellular growth and organelle trafficking, as well as bacterial resistance to environmental stress. This is the first report demonstrating that a single DjlA-deficient mutant exhibits a distinct phenotype.
Streptococcus pyogenes strains can be divided into two classes, one capable and the other incapable of producing H2O2 (M. Saito, S. Ohga, M. Endoh, H. Nakayama, Y. Mizunoe, T. Hara, and S. Yoshida, Microbiology 147:2469-2477, 2001). In the present study, this dichotomy was shown to parallel the presence or absence of H2O2-producing lactate oxidase activity in permeabilized cells. Both lactate oxidase activity and H2O2 production under aerobic conditions were detectable only after glucose in the medium was exhausted. Thus, the glucose-repressible lactate oxidase is likely responsible for H2O2 production in S. pyogenes. Of the other two potential H2O2-producing enzymes of this bacterium, NADH and α-glycerophosphate oxidase, only the former exhibited low but significant activity in either class of strains. This activity was independent of the growth phase, suggesting that the protein may serve in vivo as a subunit of the H2O2-scavenging enzyme NAD(P)H-linked alkylhydroperoxide reductase. The activity of lactate oxidase was associated with the membrane while that of NADH oxidase was in the soluble fraction, findings consistent with their respective physiological roles, i.e., the production and scavenging of H2O2. Analyses of fermentation end products revealed that the concentration of lactate initially increased with time and decreased on glucose exhaustion, while that of acetate increased during the culture. These results suggest that the lactate oxidase activity of H2O2-producing cells oxidizes lactate to pyruvate, which is in turn converted to acetate. This latter process proceeds presumably via acetyl coenzyme A and acetyl phosphate with formation of extra ATP.
In this study, we examined whether virulence conversion occurs in Legionella pneumophila by conjugal transfer of chromosomal DNA. A virulent strain, K6, which has the genes for Kmr and LacZ+ transposed in the chromosome of strain Philadelphia-1, which belongs to serogroup 1, was used as one parent, and an avirulent strain, Chicago-2S, which is a spontaneous streptomycin-resistant derivative of strain Chicago-2 belonging to serogroup 6, was used as the other parent. Experiments in which K6 (approximately 2.6 × 109 CFU) and Chicago-2S (approximately 8.9 × 109 CFU) were mated typically yielded 103 Kmr Smr LacZ+ transconjugants. Thirty-two (about 2.8%) of 1,152 transconjugants belonging to serogroup 6 acquired the ability to grow intracellularly in Acanthamoeba castellanii and guinea pig macrophages. When guinea pigs were infected with sublethal doses of Legionella aerosols generated from one of these transconjugants (HM1011), they developed a severe pneumonia similar to that caused by donor strain K6. These results show that avirulent strain Chicago-2S changed into virulent strain HM1011 through conjugation with virulent strain K6. Furthermore, we showed that Legionella chromosomal virulence genes (icm-dot locus) were horizontally transferred by the conjugation system. The chromosomal conjugation system may play a role(s) in the evolution of L. pneumophila.
Since July 2002, bacteriologically confirmed shigellosis cases have increased, and multidrug-resistant Shigella dysenteriae serotype 1 strains have reemerged in patients hospitalized with diarrhea in Kolkata, India. The isolated strains of S. dysenteriae 1 showed resistance to chloramphenicol (80%), ampicillin (100%), tetracycline (100%), co-trimoxazole (100%), nalidixic acid (100%), norfloxacin (100%), and ciprofloxacin (100%). Emergence of fluoroquinolone resistance in S. dysenteriae 1 strains complicated treatment of shigellosis patients. Six strains belonging to provisional serovars of S. dysenteriae were also identified for the first time in patients hospitalized with diarrhea in Kolkata, India.
shigellosis; S. dysenteriae 1; drug resistance
We identified and characterized the iron-binding protein Dps from Campylobacter jejuni. Electron microscopic analysis of this protein revealed a spherical structure of 8.5 nm in diameter, with an electron-dense core similar to those of other proteins of the Dps (DNA-binding protein from starved cells) family. Cloning and sequencing of the Dps-encoding gene (dps) revealed that a 450-bp open reading frame (ORF) encoded a protein of 150 amino acids with a calculated molecular mass of 17,332 Da. Amino acid sequence comparison indicated a high similarity between C. jejuni Dps and other Dps family proteins. In C. jejuni Dps, there are iron-binding motifs, as reported in other Dps family proteins. C. jejuni Dps bound up to 40 atoms of iron per monomer, whereas it did not appear to bind DNA. An isogenic dps-deficient mutant was more vulnerable to hydrogen peroxide than its parental strain, as judged by growth inhibition tests. The iron chelator Desferal restored the resistance of the Dps-deficient mutant to hydrogen peroxide, suggesting that this iron-binding protein prevented generation of hydroxyl radicals via the Fenton reaction. Dps was constitutively expressed during both exponential and stationary phase, and no induction was observed when the cells were exposed to H2O2 or grown under iron-supplemented or iron-restricted conditions. On the basis of these data, we propose that this iron-binding protein in C. jejuni plays an important role in protection against hydrogen peroxide stress by sequestering intracellular free iron and is expressed constitutively to cope with the harmful effect of hydrogen peroxide stress on this microaerophilic organism without delay.
The action of Shiga toxin (Stx) on the central nervous system was examined in rabbits. Intravenous Stx1 was 44 times more lethal than Stx2 and acted more rapidly than Stx2. However, Stx1 accumulated more slowly in the cerebrospinal fluid than did Stx2. Magnetic resonance imaging demonstrated a predominance of Stx1-dependent lesions in the spinal cord. Pretreatment of the animals with anti-Stx1 antiserum intravenously completely protected against both development of brain lesions and mortality.
Type 1 fimbriae can be expressed by most Escherichia coli strains and mediate mannose-sensitive (MS) adherence to mammalian epithelial cells. However, the role of type 1 fimbriae in enteric pathogenesis has been unclear. Expression of type 1 fimbriae in E. coli is phase variable and is associated with the inversion of a short DNA element (fim switch). Forty-six strains of diarrheagenic E. coli were examined for the expression of type 1 fimbriae. Only four of these strains were originally type 1 fimbriated. Seventeen strains, originally nonfimbriated, expressed type 1 fimbriae in association with off-to-on inversion of the fim switch, after serial passages in static culture. The switching frequencies of these strains, from fimbriate to nonfimbriate, were greater than that of the laboratory strain E. coli K-12. None of the 16 strains of serovar O157:H7 or O157:H− expressed type 1 fimbriae after serial passages in static culture. The nucleotide sequence analysis of the fim switch region revealed that all of the O157:H7 and O157:H− strains had a 16-bp deletion in the invertible element, and the fim switch was locked in the “off” orientation. The results suggest that expression of type 1 fimbriae may be regulated differently in different E. coli pathogens causing enteric infections.
Shiga toxin 2 (Stx2) is produced by enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) and is known as the major virulence factor of EHEC. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of Stx2 on (i) maternal lethality, (ii) fetuses, (iii) delivery period, and (iv) maternal behavior after delivery. Timed pregnant ICR mice were injected intravenously with Stx2 on day 5 of pregnancy (early stage) or on day 15 (late stage). In early-stage experiments, the number of normal fetuses of mice injected with Stx2 was significantly lower than that of control mice. In late-stage experiments, mothers injected with Stx2 delivered normal numbers of neonates, but could not take care of them. The lethal doses of Stx2 were not different for pregnant and nonpregnant female mice at either stage. We conclude that Stx2 is toxic to the fetus in early pregnancy and affects maternal puerperal behavior in late pregnancy.
A total of 200 isolates of Haemophilus influenzae were analyzed by serotyping, biotyping, and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). A total of 178 epidemiologically unrelated strains of H. influenzae demonstrated a variety of genome patterns by PFGE, and 165 genotypes were thus obtained in this study. PFGE typing proved to have a much stronger discriminatory power than either serotyping or biotyping. Six serotype b strains were all classified into discrete genotypes. A PFGE analysis of 18 strains obtained from the nasopharynx, blood, and cerebrospinal fluid of patients with meningitis also supported the hypothesis that invasive H. influenzae disseminates from the nasopharynx to the bloodstream and then subsequently to other body sites. PFGE typing of 10 other strains isolated from household contacts of patients with H. influenzae infection revealed that the strain that caused the H. influenzae infection often colonized the nasopharynges of household contacts. Our findings suggest that PFGE analysis is useful for the epidemiological study of H. influenzae infection, even when the invasive disease is caused by serotype b strains.
In active tuberculosis, T-cell response to Mycobacterium tuberculosis is known to be reduced. In the course of Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection in mice, we observed that T-cell proliferation in response to M. tuberculosis purified protein derivative (PPD) reached the maximum level on day 7, then declined to the minimal level on day 14, and persisted at a low level through day 28 postinfection. The frequency of PPD-specific CD4 T cells in the spleen on day 28 decreased to one-sixth on day 7. To further investigate the mechanism of this T-cell hyporesponsiveness, we next analyzed the suppressive activity of spleen macrophages on T-cell function. The nonspecific proliferative response of naive T cells and the PPD-specific proliferative response of T cells were suppressed by day 28 macrophages, but not by day 7 macrophages or naive macrophages. This reduction of proliferative response was restored by addition of nitric oxide synthesis inhibitor, NG-monoethyl-l-arginine monoacetate, but not by monoclonal antibody against interleukin 10 or transforming growth factor β. These data indicate that the macrophages from mice chronically infected with M. tuberculosis suppress T-cell response through production of nitric oxide, suggesting that nitric oxide-induced elimination mediated by activated macrophages may reduce the T-cell response and the number of mycobacterium-specific CD4 T cells in vivo.
An extracellular exopolysaccharide (slime) is produced by Vibrio cholerae O139 MO10 in response to nutrient starvation. The presence of this slime layer on the cell surface and its subsequent release have been shown to be associated with biofilm formation and the change from a normal smooth colony morphology to a rugose one. An immunoelectron microscopic examination demonstrated that there is an epitope common to the exopolysaccharide antigen of V. cholerae O1 and that of O139 MO10.
Vibrio cholerae O1 strain TSI-4 (El Tor, Ogawa) can shift to a rugose colony morphology from its normal translucent colony morphology in response to nutrient starvation. We have investigated differences between the rugose and translucent forms of V. cholerae O1 strain TSI-4. Electron microscopic examination of the rugose form of TSI-4 (TSI-4/R) revealed thick, electron-dense exopolysaccharide materials surrounding polycationic ferritin-stained cells, while the ferritin-stained material was absent around the translucent form of TSI-4 (TSI-4/T). The exopolysaccharide produced by V. cholerae TSI-4/R was found to have a composition of N-acetyl-d-glucosamine, d-mannose, 6-deoxy-d-galactose, and d-galactose (7.4:10.2:2.4:3.0). The expression of an amorphous exopolysaccharide promotes biofilm development under static culture conditions. Biofilm formation by the rugose strain was determined by scanning electron microscopy, and most of the surface of the film was colonized by actively dividing rod cells. The corresponding rugose and translucent strains were compared for stress resistance. By having exopolysaccharide materials, the rugose strains acquired resistance to osmotic and oxidative stress. Our data indicated that an exopolysaccharide material on the surface of the rugose strain promoted biofilm formation and resistance to the effects of two stressing agents.
We have previously reported the isolation and characterization of two filamentous bacteriophages of Vibrio parahaemolyticus, designated Vf12 and Vf33. In this study, to understand the potential of these phages as tools for genetic transmission, we investigated the gene structures of replicative-form (RF) DNAs of their genomes and the distribution of these DNAs on chromosomal and extrachromosomal DNAs. The 7,965-bp nucleotide sequences of Vf12 and Vf33 were determined. An analysis of the overall gene structures revealed that Vf12 and Vf33 had conserved regions and distinctive regions. The gene organization of their conserved regions was similar to that of CTX phage of Vibrio cholerae and coliphage Ff of Escherichia coli, while their distinctive regions were characteristic of Vf12 and Vf33 phage genomes. Southern blot hybridization testing revealed that the filamentous phage genomes integrated into chromosomal DNA of V. parahaemolyticus at the distinctive region of the phage genome and were also distributed on some plasmids of V. parahaemolyticus and total cellular DNAs of one Vibrio damsela and one nonagglutinable Vibrio strain tested. These results strongly suggest the possibilities of genetic interaction among the bacteriophage Vf12 and Vf33 genomes and chromosomal and plasmid-borne DNAs of V. parahaemolyticus strains and of genetic transmission among strains through these filamentous phages.