Corynebacterium diphtheriae produces a potent bacteriophage-encoded protein exotoxin, diphtheria toxin, which causes the symptoms of diphtheria. This potentially fatal infectious disease is controlled in many developed countries by an effective immunisation programme. However, the disease has made a dramatic return in recent years, in particular within the Eastern European region. C. diphtheriae biotype gravis strain NCTC13129 was isolated in 1997 from a 72-year-old female with clinical diphtheria who had returned to the UK from a Baltic cruise.
The C. diphtheriae strain genome is composed of a single circular chromosome of 2,488,635 bp, and was sequenced in collaboration with Dr. Androulla Efstratiou of the W.H.O. collaborating centre for diphtheria, Respiratory and Systemic Infection Laboratory, at the Health Protection Agency.
A manuscript describing the NCTC13129 genome has been published: Cerdeño-Tárraga et al. (2003) The complete genome sequence and analysis of Corynebacterium diphtheriae NCTC13129. Nucleic Acids Research 31(22):6516-6523.
Please address all sequencing and annotation enquiries to Dr. Julian Parkhill.