Phase variable restriction-modification systems in Moraxella catarrhalis
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A repetitive DNA motif was used as a marker to identify novel genes in the mucosal pathogen Moraxella catarrhalis. There is a high prevalence of such repetitive motifs in virulence genes that display phase variable expression. Two repeat containing loci were identified using a digoxigenin-labelled 5P-(CAAC)6-3'P oligonucleotide probe. The repeats are located in the methylase components of two distinct type III restriction-modification (R-M) systems. We suggest that the phase variable nature of these R-M systems indicates that they have an important role in the biology of M. catarrhalis.
FEMS Immunology and Medical Microbiology