A novel colicin, designated colicin U, was found in two Shigella boydii strains of serovars 1 and 8. Colicin U was active against bacterial strains of the genera Escherichia and Shigella. Plasmid pColU (7.3 kb) of the colicinogenic strain S. boydii M592 (serovar 8) was sequenced, and three colicin genes were identified. The colicin U activity gene, cua, encodes a protein of 619 amino acids (Mr, 66,289); the immunity gene, cui, encodes a protein of 174 amino acids (Mr, 20,688); and the lytic protein gene, cul, encodes a polypeptide of 45 amino acids (Mr, 4,672). Colicin U displays sequence similarities to various colicins. The N-terminal sequence of 130 amino acids has 54% identity to the N-terminal sequence of bacteriocin 28b produced by Serratia marcescens. Furthermore, the N-terminal 36 amino acids have striking sequence identity (83%) to colicin A. Although the C-terminal pore-forming sequence of colicin U shows the highest degree of identity (73%) to the pore-forming C-terminal sequence of colicin B, the immunity protein, which interacts with the same region, displays a higher degree of sequence similarity to the immunity protein of colicin A (45%) than to the immunity protein of colicin B (30.5%). Immunity specificity is probably conferred by a short sequence from residues 571 to residue 599 of colicin U; this sequence is not similar to that of colicin B. We showed that binding of colicin U to sensitive cells is mediated by the OmpA protein, the OmpF porin, and core lipopolysaccharide. Uptake of colicin U was dependent on the TolA, -B, -Q, and -R proteins. pColU is homologous to plasmid pSB41 (4.1 kb) except for the colicin genes on pColU. pSB41 and pColU coexist in S. boydii strains and can be cotransformed into Escherichia coli, and both plasmids are homologous to pColE1
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