Comparative analysis of nucleotide sequences of genes participating in melibiose fermentation and isocitrate lyase production was conducted in 90 natural Yersinia pestis strains of main and non main subspecies. It was ascertained that the lack of the ability to utilize disaccharide melibiose in strains of the main subspecies is caused by integration of the insertion sequence IS285 at 73 bp from the beginning of the structural gene melB that encodes the transport protein galactoside permease. In contrast, strains of non main subspecies (caucasica, altaica, and ulegeica) contain the intact gene melB and are capable of fermenting melibiose. Differences in the manifestation of the other differential trait, production of isocitrate lyase, are connected with the presence of mutation (insertion of two nucleotides +CC) in the regulatory gene iclR encoding repressor protein of the acetate operon, which is the reason for constitutive synthesis of this enzyme. Strains of non main subspecies do not contain mutations in gene iclR, and this correlates in these strains with their capacity for inducible synthesis of isocitrate lyase.
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