1887

Abstract

, the meningococcus, is naturally competent for transformation throughout its growth cycle. The uptake of exogenous DNA into the meningococcus cell during transformation is a multi-step process. Beyond the requirement for type IV pilus expression for efficient transformation, little is known about the neisserial proteins involved in DNA binding, uptake and genome integration. This study aimed to identify and characterize neisserial DNA binding proteins in order to further elucidate the multi-factorial transformation machinery. The meningococcus inner membrane and soluble cell fractions were searched for DNA binding components by employing 1D and 2D gel electrophoresis approaches in combination with a solid-phase overlay assay with DNA substrates. Proteins that bound DNA were identified by MS analysis. In the membrane fraction, multiple components bound DNA, including the neisserial competence lipoprotein ComL. In the soluble fraction, the meningococcus orthologue of the single-stranded DNA binding protein SSB was predominant. The DNA binding activity of the recombinant ComL and SSB proteins purified to homogeneity was verified by electromobility shift assay, and the ComL–DNA interaction was shown to be Mg-dependent. In 3D models of the meningococcus ComL and SSB predicted structures, potential DNA binding sites were suggested. ComL was found to co-purify with the outer membrane, directly interacting with the secretin PilQ. The combined use of 1D/2D solid-phase overlay assays with MS analysis was a useful strategy for identifying DNA binding components. The ComL DNA binding properties and outer membrane localization suggest that this lipoprotein plays a direct role in neisserial transformation, while neisserial SSB is a DNA binding protein that contributes to the terminal part of the transformation process.

Funding
This study was supported by the:
  • Medical Research Curriculum
  • Institute of Medical Basic Sciences at the University of Oslo
  • Research Council of Norway
  • This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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2011-05-01
2022-01-21
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