DprA from Neisseria meningitidis: Properties and role in natural competence for transformation

Eirik Hovland, Getachew Tesfaye Beyene, Stephan A. Frye, Håvard Homberset, Seetha V. Balasingham, Marta Gómez-Muñoz, Jeremy P. Derrick, Tone Tønjum, Ole H. Ambur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


DNA processing chain A (DprA) is a DNA-binding protein that is ubiquitous in bacteria and expressed in some archaea. DprA is active in many bacterial species that are competent for transformation of DNA, but its role in Neisseriameningitidis (Nm) is not well characterized. An Nm mutant lacking DprA was constructed, and the phenotypes of the wild-type and DdprA mutant were compared. The salient feature of the phenotype of dprA null cells is the total lack of competence for genetic transformation shown by all of the donor DNA substrates tested in this study. Here, Nm wild-type and dprA null cells appeared to be equally resistant to genotoxic stress. The gene encoding DprA Nm was cloned and overexpressed, and the biological activities of DprA Nm were further investigated. DprA Nm binds ssDNA more strongly than dsDNA, but lacks DNA uptake sequence-specific DNA binding. DprA Nm dimerization and interaction with the C-terminal part of the single-stranded binding protein SSB Nm were demonstrated. dprA is co-expressed with smg, a downstream gene of unknown function, and the gene encoding topoisomerase 1, topA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1016-1029
Number of pages14
Issue number7
Early online date12 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • DprA
  • Neisseria meningitidis
  • Recombination
  • Transformation


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