1887

Abstract

Piliation is an important virulence determinant for PilE polypeptide is the major protein subunit in the pilus organelle and engages in extensive antigenic variation due to recombination between and a locus. were so-named as they are believed to be transcriptionally silent, in contrast to the locus. In this study, we demonstrate the presence of a small, specific RNA species. Through using a series of deletion mutants, we show by Northern blotting and quantitative reverse transcriptase PCR analysis (qRT-PCR), that these smaller RNA species are not derived from the primary transcript following some processing events, but rather, arose through transcription of the loci. Small transcriptome analysis, in conjunction with analysis of recombinants, identified both sense and anti-sense RNAs originating from most, but not all, of the gene copies. Focusing on the MS11 locus, we identified by site-directed mutagenesis a sense promoter located immediately upstream of copy 2, as well as an anti-sense promoter immediately downstream of copy 1. Whole transcriptome analysis also revealed the presence of specific sRNA in both gonococci and meningococci. Overall, this study reveals an added layer of complexity to the recombination scheme by demonstrating -specific transcription within genes that were previously thought to be transcriptionally silent.

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2015-05-01
2019-10-15
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