Characterization of common virulence plasmids in Yersinia species and their role in the expression of outer membrane proteins
The virulence plasmids pYV019, pYV8081, and pIB1 from Yersinia pestis, Yersinia enterocolitica, and Yersinia pseudotuberculosis, respectively, were characterized by restriction endonuclease analysis. The three plasmids exhibited a region of common DNA previously shown to encode determinants which confer Ca2+ dependence. The plasmids from Y. pestis and Y. pseudotuberculosis were similar throughout their genomes. In contrast, a region of the plasmid from Y. enterocolitica which contained an origin of replication differed from the other two plasmids as determined by DNA homology and replication properties. Plasmid-associated outer membrane proteins from all three species of Yersinia were characterized by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. There were no differences in the outer membrane protein profiles between plasmid-containing and homogenic strains lacking the plasmid after growth at 28 degrees C. After growth at 37 degrees C, both Y. enterocolitica and Y. pseudotuberculosis showed at least four major plasmid-associated outer membrane proteins. Y. pestis did not show any discernible changes after growth at 37 degrees C. It was shown by using E. coli minicell analysis that the plasmid DNA from all three species of Yersinia contained the coding capacity for production of the novel outer membrane proteins.