Genetic transformation of Neisseria gonorrhoeae shows a strand preference

Paul M. Duffin, H. Steven Seifert*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Natural transformation is the main means of horizontal genetic exchange in the obligate human pathogen Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Neisseria spp. have been shown to preferentially take up and transform their own DNA by recognizing a non-palindromic 10 or 12 nucleotide DNA uptake sequence (DUS10 or DUS12). We investigated the ability of the DUS12 to enhance single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) transformation. Given the non-palindromic nature of the DUS12, we tested whether both strands of the DUS equally enhance transformation. Recombinant single-stranded M13 phage harboring transforming DNA with the Watson DUS12, the Crick DUS12, or no DUS (DUS0) were constructed and circular ssDNA was purified. Southern blots of the purified DNA probed with strand-specific oligonucleotide probes showed > 10 000 : 1 ratio of ssDNA to contaminating dsDNA. The Crick strand of the DUS12 enhanced ssDNA transformation 180- to 470-fold over DUS0 ssDNA, whereas the Watson strand of the DUS only modestly enhanced ssDNA transformation in two strains of N. gonorrhoeae. These data confirm that ssDNA efficiently transforms N. gonorrhoeae, but that there is a strand preference and that part of this strand preference is a greater efficiency of the Crick strand of the DUS12 in enhancing transformation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)44-48
Number of pages5
JournalFEMS Microbiology Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 2012


  • Genetic exchange
  • Pathogen
  • Recombination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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