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FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol. 2000 Feb;27(2):99-102.

The dprA gene is required for natural transformation of Helicobacter pylori.

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Department of Medical Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Van der Boechorststraat 7, 1081 BT, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Genetic recombination in Helicobacter pylori is believed to be involved in host adaptation of this gastric pathogen and uptake of DNA by natural transformation can result in changes in virulence factors as well as antigenic variation. To elucidate the mechanisms involved in natural transformation we tested two genes with homology to known competence genes (dprA and traG) for their role in this process. Insertion mutants in these genes were constructed in two different H. pylori strains and their competence by natural transformation was compared to the wild-type. Mutation of the traG homolog did not reduce competence. Mutation of the dprA gene, however, severely impaired natural transformation both with plasmid and chromosomal DNA. Our data indicate that dprA and comB3 are essential parts of a common pathway for chromosomal and plasmid transformation.

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