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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016 Mar 1;113(9):2496-501. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1513740113. Epub 2016 Feb 16.

The archaeal Ced system imports DNA.

Author information

1
Molecular Biology of Archaea, Institute of Biology II - Microbiology, University of Freiburg, 79104 Freiburg, Germany.
2
Molecular Biology of Archaea, Institute of Biology II - Microbiology, University of Freiburg, 79104 Freiburg, Germany sonja.albers@biologie.uni-freiburg.de.

Abstract

The intercellular transfer of DNA is a phenomenon that occurs in all domains of life and is a major driving force of evolution. Upon UV-light treatment, cells of the crenarchaeal genus Sulfolobus express Ups pili, which initiate cell aggregate formation. Within these aggregates, chromosomal DNA, which is used for the repair of DNA double-strand breaks, is exchanged. Because so far no clear homologs of bacterial DNA transporters have been identified among the genomes of Archaea, the mechanisms of archaeal DNA transport have remained a puzzling and underinvestigated topic. Here we identify saci_0568 and saci_0748, two genes from Sulfolobus acidocaldarius that are highly induced upon UV treatment, encoding a transmembrane protein and a membrane-bound VirB4/HerA homolog, respectively. DNA transfer assays showed that both proteins are essential for DNA transfer between Sulfolobus cells and act downstream of the Ups pili system. Our results moreover revealed that the system is involved in the import of DNA rather than the export. We therefore propose that both Saci_0568 and Saci_0748 are part of a previously unidentified DNA importer. Given the fact that we found this transporter system to be widely spread among the Crenarchaeota, we propose to name it the Crenarchaeal system for exchange of DNA (Ced). In this study we have for the first time to our knowledge described an archaeal DNA transporter.

KEYWORDS:

Archaea; DNA transport; VirB4; conjugation; type IV pili

PMID:
26884154
PMCID:
PMC4780597
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.1513740113
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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