Transformation in : formation of eclipse complex in a coiA mutant implicates CoiA in genetic recombinationStreptococcus pneumoniae: formation of eclipse complex in a coiA mutant implicates CoiA in genetic recombination

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Abstract

Summary

CoiA is a transient protein expressed specifically during competence and required for genetic transformation in Streptococcus pneumoniae, but not for DNA uptake. It is widely conserved among Gram-positive bacteria but its function is unknown. Here we report that although the rate of DNA uptake was not affected in a coiA mutant, the internalized donor DNA did not recombine into the host chromosome to form a physical and genetic heteroduplex. Instead, DNA taken up by a coiA mutant accumulated in the form of a single-stranded (ss) DNA–protein complex indistinguishable from the eclipse complex formed as a recombination intermediate in wild-type competent cells. Internalized donor DNA in a dprA mutant did not accumulate either as ss DNA or as an eclipse complex. Together, these results establish that a coiA mutant exhibits a phenotype different from that of dprA or recA mutants, and that CoiA functions at a later step in promoting recombination during genetic transformation in Streptococcus pneumoniae.

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