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© 2016 Federation of European Biochemical Societies The human pathogen Vibrio vulnificus undergoes phase variation among colonial morphotypes, including a virulent opaque form which produces capsular polysaccharide (CPS) and a translucent phenotype that produces little or no CPS and is attenuated. Here, we found that a V. vulnificus mutant defective for RfaH antitermination control showed a diminished capacity to undergo phase variation and displayed significantly reduced distal gene expression within the Group I CPS operon. Moreover, the rfaH mutant produced negligible CPS and was highly sensitive to killing by normal human serum, results which indicate that RfaH is likely essential for virulence in this bacterium.

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FEBS Letters

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