The virulence plasmid-encoded impCAB operon enhances survival and induced mutagenesis in Shigella flexneri after exposure to UV radiation

Infect Immun. 1999 Mar;67(3):1415-23. doi: 10.1128/IAI.67.3.1415-1423.1999.


Upon exposure to UV radiation, Shigella flexneri SA100 displayed survival and mutation frequencies comparable to those of Escherichia coli AB1157, which contains a functional UmuDC error-prone DNA repair system. Survival of SA100 after UV irradiation was associated with the presence of the 220-kb virulence plasmid, pVP. This plasmid encodes homologues of ImpA and ImpB, which comprise an error-prone DNA repair system encoded on plasmid TP110 that was initially identified in Salmonella typhimurium, and ImpC, encoded upstream of ImpA and ImpB. Although the impB gene was present in representatives of all four species of Shigella, not all isolates tested contained the gene. Shigella isolates that lacked impB were more sensitive to UV radiation than isolates that contained impB. The nucleotide sequence of a 2.4-kb DNA fragment containing the imp operon from S. flexneri SA100 pVP was 96% identical to the imp operon from the plasmid TP110. An SA100 derivative with a mutation in the impB gene had reduced survival following UV irradiation and less UV-induced mutagenesis relative to the parental strain. We also found that S. flexneri contained a chromosomally encoded umuDC operon; however, the umuDC promoter was not induced by exposure to UV radiation. This suggests that the imp operon but not the umuDC operon contributes to survival and induced mutagenesis in S. flexneri following exposure to UV radiation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics*
  • Base Sequence
  • Cells, Cultured
  • DNA Repair
  • Escherichia coli Proteins*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutagenesis*
  • Operon*
  • Plasmids*
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Radiation Tolerance
  • Serine Endopeptidases*
  • Shigella flexneri / genetics
  • Shigella flexneri / radiation effects*
  • Ultraviolet Rays
  • Virulence


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Escherichia coli Proteins
  • ImpB protein, E coli
  • ImpB protein, Salmonella typhimurium
  • ImpC protein, Bacteria
  • Serine Endopeptidases
  • impA protein, Salmonella typhimurium

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AF079316