Helicobacter pyloriDprA alleviates restriction barrier for incoming DNA

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Helicobacter pyloriis a Gram-negative bacterium that colonizes human stomach and causes gastric inflammation. The species is naturally competent and displays remarkable diversity. The presence of a large number of restriction–modification (R–M) systems in this bacterium creates a barrier against natural transformation by foreign DNA. Yet, mechanisms that protect incoming double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) from restriction enzymes are not well understood. A DNA-binding protein,DNAProcessing ProteinA(DprA) has been shown to facilitate natural transformation of several Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria by protecting incoming single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) and promoting RecA loading on it. However, in this study, we report thatH. pyloriDprA (HpDprA) binds not only ssDNA but also dsDNA thereby conferring protection to both from various exonucleases and Type II restriction enzymes. Here, we observed a stimulatory role of HpDprA in DNA methylation through physical interaction with methyltransferases. Thus, HpDprA displayed dual functional interaction withH. pyloriR–M systems by not only inhibiting the restriction enzymes but also stimulating methyltransferases. These results indicate that HpDprA could be one of the factors that modulate the R–M barrier during inter-strain natural transformation inH. pylori.

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