Identification of mip-like genes in the genus Legionella

N. P. Cianciotto*, J. M. Bangsborg, B. I. Eisenstein, N. C. Engleberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


The mip gene of Legionella pneumophila serogroup 1 strain AA100 encodes a 24-kilodalton surface protein (Mip) and enhances the abilities of L. pneumophila to parasitize human macrophages and to cause pneumonia in experimental animals. To determine whether this virulence factor is conserved in the genus Legionella, a large panel of Legionella strains was examined by Southern hybridization and immunoblot analyses for the presence and expression of mip-related sequences. Strains representing all 14 serogroups of L. pneumophila contained a mip gene and expressed a 24-kilodalton Mip protein. Although the isolates of the 29 other Legionella species did not hybridize with mip DNA probes under high-stringency conditions, they did so at reduced stringency. In support of the notion that these strains possess mip-like genes, these species each expressed a protein (24 to 31 kilodaltons in size) that reacted with specific Mip antisera. Moreover, the cloned mip analog from Legionella micdadei encoded the cross-reactive protein. Thus, mip is conserved and specific to L. pneumophila, but mip-like genes are present throughout the genus, perhaps potentiating the intracellular infectivity of all Legionella species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2912-2918
Number of pages7
JournalInfection and immunity
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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