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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)
 
 
 
 
 

Hypermutation in pathogenic bacteria: frequent phase variation in meningococci is a phenotypic trait of a specialized mutator biotype.

Expression of serogroup B meningococcal capsular polysaccharide undergoes frequent phase variation involving reversible frameshift mutations within a homopolymeric repeat in the siaD gene. A high rate of phase variation is the consequence of a biochemical defect in methyl-directed mismatch repair. The mutator phenotype is associated to the absence of DNA adenine methyltransferase (Dam) activity in all pathogenic isolates and in 50% of commensal strains. Analysis of the meningococcal dam gene region revealed that in all Dam- strains a gene encoding a putative restriction endonuclease (drg) that cleaves only the methylated DNA sequence 5'-GmeATC-3' replaced the dam gene. Insertional inactivation of the dam and/or drg genes indicated that high rates of phase variation and hypermutator phenotype are caused by absence of a functional dam gene.[1]

References

  1. Hypermutation in pathogenic bacteria: frequent phase variation in meningococci is a phenotypic trait of a specialized mutator biotype. Bucci, C., Lavitola, A., Salvatore, P., Del Giudice, L., Massardo, D.R., Bruni, C.B., Alifano, P. Mol. Cell (1999) [Pubmed]
 
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