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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2000 May 15;186(2):275-80.

Characteristics of Helicobacter pylori natural transformation.

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Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and VA Medical Center, A-3310 Medical Center North, Nashville, TN 37232-2605, USA.


For Helicobacter pylori, which exhibits substantial genetic diversity, many strains are naturally competent for transformation by exogenous DNA. To better understand the mechanism of natural transformation and its role in the generation of diversity, we sought to systematically identify factors important for natural transformation in H. pylori. We now show that the highest frequency of H. pylori transformation occurs when DNA is introduced prior to exponential phase growth, and that it is a saturable phenomenon. That transformation can be inhibited by DNA from Helicobacter (H. pylori and Helicobacter bilis) but not Escherichia coli suggests specificity based on DNA source. Finally, the cag island was determined to be unnecessary for high-frequency transformation.

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