Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Mob Genet Elements. 2011 May;1(1):85-87.

Neisseria gonorrhoeae and humans perform an evolutionary LINE dance.

Author information

Department of Microbiology-Immunology; Northwestern University; Feinberg School of Medicine; Chicago, IL USA.


Horizontal gene transfer is an important mechanism for generating genetic diversity. As the number of sequenced genomes continues to increase, so do the examples of horizontal genetic exchange between both related and divergent organisms. Here we discuss the recent finding that certain strains of the human pathogen Neisseria gonorrhoeae have incorporated a small fragment of human DNA sequence into their genomes. The horizontally acquired sequence exhibits 98-100% nucleotide identity to a 685 bp portion of the highly repetitive retrotransposable element L1 and its presence in the gonococcal genome has been confirmed by multiple molecular techniques. The possibility of similar L1 horizontal gene transfer events having occurred in other bacteria based on genomic sequence evidence is explored. Potential mechanisms of how N. gonorrhoeae was able to acquire and maintain this human sequence are also discussed in addition to the evolutionary implications of such an event.

PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Taylor & Francis Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center