The recX gene potentiates homologous recombination in Neisseria gonorrhoeae

E. A. Stohl, H. S. Seifert*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


In the pathogen Neisseria gonorrhoeae (Gc), the RecA protein is necessary for DNA repair, DNA transformation and pilus antigenic variation. Many bacteria contain a gene, recX, which has been suggested to downregulate recA through an unknown mechanism. To investigate the possible role of recX in Gc, we cloned and insertionally inactivated the recX gene. The recX loss-of-function mutant showed decreases in pilus phase variation, DNA transformation and DNA repair ability compared with wild type. We were able to complement all these deficiencies by supplying a functional copy of recX elsewhere in the chromosome. The recX mutant still showed increases in pilus phase variation under conditions of iron starvation, and the recX mutant showed levels of RecA protein equivalent to wild type. Although the precise role of recX in recombination remains unclear, RecX aids all RecA-related processes in Gc, and this is the first demonstration of a role for recX in homologous recombination in any organism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1301-1310
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Microbiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Microbiology


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