1887

Abstract

Some adenine methyltransferases have been shown not only to protect specific DNA restriction sites from cleavage by a restriction endonuclease, but also to play a role in various bacterial processes and sometimes in bacterial virulence. This study focused on a type I restriction–modification system (designated ) of . This system is composed of three adjacent genes which could potentially encode an -adenine DNA methylase (YamA), an enzyme involved in site-specific recognition (YrsA) and a restriction endonuclease (YreA). Screening of 85 isolates of and indicated that the system has been lost by and that (but not or ) is present in all strains tested, suggesting that it may be important at some stages of the epidemiological cycle of this species. To further investigate the role of in survival, multiplication or virulence, a Δ mutant of IP32953 was constructed by allelic exchange with a kanamycin cassette. The fact that Δ mutants were obtained indicated that this gene is not essential for viability. The IP32953Δ mutant strain grew as well as the wild-type in a rich medium at both 28 °C and 37 °C. It also grew normally in a chemically defined medium at 28 °C, but exhibited a growth defect at 37 °C. In contrast to the Dam adenine methyltransferase, a mutation in did not impair the functions of DNA repair or resistance to detergents. However, the Δ mutant exhibited a virulence defect in a mouse model of intragastric infection. The analysis indicated that the chromosomal region carrying the locus has been replaced in by a horizontally acquired region which potentially encodes another methyltransferase. YamA might thus be dispensable for growth and virulence because this species has acquired another gene fulfilling the same functions.

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2007-08-01
2020-08-03
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