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FEBS Lett. 2002 Jul 3;522(1-3):52-8.

Transposon-like Correia elements: structure, distribution and genetic exchange between pathogenic Neisseria sp.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Oxford, UK.


Correia elements are a prominent feature of all four Neisseria genome sequences. We report an in silico analysis of the structure and genomic distribution of these elements and some preliminary biochemical data. Correia elements fall into four major families, distinguished by a 50 bp internal deletion and five point mutations. The elements resemble a transposon with 25 bp inverted repeats and a TA duplication at the target site. Within the element there is a functional integration host factor binding site. The genomic distribution of Correia elements is essentially random except for some small Correia-less regions apparently acquired by horizontal transfer. Phylogenetic analysis suggests that their presence predates the divergence of Neisseria meningitidis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae.

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