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BMC Microbiology

, 3:23

First Online: 12 November 2003Received: 06 August 2003Accepted: 12 November 2003

Abstract

BackgroundTandem repeats contained within coding regions can mediate phase variation when the repeated units change the reading frame of the coding sequence in a copy number dependent manner. Coding tandem repeats are those which do not alter the reading frame with copy number, and the changes in copy number of these repeats may then potentially alter the function or antigenicity of the protein encoded. Three complete neisserial genomes were analyzed and compared to identify coding tandem repeats where the number of copies of the repeat will have some structural consequence for the protein. This is the first study to address coding tandem repeats that may affect protein structures using comparative genomics, combined with a population survey to investigate which show interstrain variability.

ResultsA total of 28 genes were identified. Of these, 22 contain coding tandem repeats that vary in copy number between the three sequenced strains, three strain specific genes were included for investigation on the basis of having >90% identity between repeated units, and three genes with repeated elements of >250 bp were included although no length variations were seen in the genomes. Amplification, and sequencing of repeats showing altered copy number, of these 28 coding tandem repeat containing regions, from a set of largely unrelated strains, revealed further repeat length variation in several cases.

ConclusionEighteen genes were identified which have variation in repeat copy number between strains of the same species, twelve of which show greater diversity in repeat copy number than is present in the sequenced genomes. In some cases, this may reflect a mechanism for the generation of antigenic variation, as previously described in other species. However, some of the genes identified encode proteins with cytoplasmic functions, including sugar metabolism, DNA repair, and protein production, in which repeat length variation may have other functions. Coding tandem repeats appear to represent a largely unexplored mechanism of generating diversity in the Neisseria spp.

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1471-2180-3-23 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Philip Jordan, Lori AS Snyder contributed equally to this work.

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Autor: Philip Jordan - Lori AS Snyder - Nigel J Saunders

Fuente: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/1471-2180-3-23



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