RecA-binding pilE G4 sequence essential for pilin antigenic variation forms monomeric and 5′ end-stacked dimeric parallel G-quadruplexes

Vitaly Kuryavyi*, Laty A. Cahoon, H. Steven Seifert, Dinshaw J. Patel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations

Abstract

Neisseria gonorrhoeae is an obligate human pathogen that can escape immune surveillance through antigenic variation of surface structures such as pili. A G-quadruplex-forming (G4) sequence (5′-G3TG3TTG 3TG3) located upstream of the N. gonorrhoeae pilin expression locus (pilE) is necessary for initiation of pilin antigenic variation, a recombination-based, high-frequency, diversity-generation system. We have determined NMR-based structures of the all parallel-stranded monomeric and 5′ end-stacked dimeric pilE G-quadruplexes in monovalent cation-containing solutions. We demonstrate that the three-layered all parallel-stranded monomeric pilE G-quadruplex containing single-residue double-chain reversal loops, which can be modeled without steric clashes into the 3 nt DNA-binding site of RecA, binds and promotes E. coli RecA-mediated strand exchange in vitro. We discuss how interactions between RecA and monomeric pilE G-quadruplex could facilitate the specialized recombination reactions leading to pilin diversification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2090-2102
Number of pages13
JournalStructure
Volume20
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 5 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology

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