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J Bioenerg Biomembr. 2004 Feb;36(1):25-33.

DNA transport and natural transformation in mesophilic and thermophilic bacteria.

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Bereich Genetik, Department Biologie I, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Maria-Ward-Strasse 1a, 80638 München, Germany.


Comparative genome analyses revealed a massive DNA exchange between microbes of distant evolutionary lineages. This phenomenon known as horizontal, or lateral, gene transfer has a tremendous impact in the evolution of prokaryotes. Here, the process of DNA transport via genetic transformation is discussed. This review will focus on the process of DNA uptake mediated by type IV pilin-like proteins in Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. Three tentative models of transformation machineries comprising components similar to proteins of type IV pili and type II secretion are presented. A comparative discussion of the structure of DNA translocators and the underlying mechanism of transfer of free DNA in mesophilic and extremely thermophilic bacteria highlights conserved and distinctive features of the DNA translocators in mesophilic and thermophilic bacteria.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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