Analysis of the cbhE' plasmid gene from acute disease-causing isolates of Coxiella burnetii

Michael F. Minnick, Christopher L. Small, Marvin E. Frazier, Louis P. Mallavia

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A gene termed cbhE' was cloned from the QpH 1 plasmid of Coxiella burnetii. Expression of recombinants containing cbhE' in vitro and in Escherichia coli maxicells, produced an insert-encoded polypeptide of approx. 42 kDa. The CbhE protein was not cleaved when intact maxicells were treated with trypsin. Hybridizations of total DNA isolated from the six strains of C. burnetii indicate that this gene is unique to C. burnetii strains associated with acute disease i.e., Hamilton[I], Vacca[II], and Rasche[III]. The cbhE' gene was not detected in strains associated with chronic disease (Biotzere[IV] and Corazon[V]) or the Dod[VI] strain. The cbhE' open reading frame (ORF) is 1022 bp in length and is preceded by a predicted promoter/Shine-Dalgarno (SD) region of TCAACT (-35)-N16-TAAAAT (-10) -N14-AGAAGGA (SD) located 10 nucleotides (nt) before the presumed AUG start codon. The ORF ends with a single UAA stop codon and has no apparent Rho-factor-independent terminator following it. The cbhE' gene codes for the CbhE protein of 341 amino acid (aa) residues with a deduced Mr of 39442. CbhE is predominantly hydrophilic with a predicted pI of 4.43. The function of CbhE is unknown. No nt or aa sequences with homology to cbhE' or CbhE, respectively, were found in searches of a number of data bases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-118
Number of pages6
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 15 1991


  • Q fever
  • QpH1
  • QpRS
  • Recombinant DNA
  • chronic disease
  • medical microbiology
  • rickettsiae, nucleotide sequence


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