The Mycoplasma hominis vaa gene displays a mosaic gene structure

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  • T Boesen, Department of Biomedicine, Medical Microbiology, and Immunology, Aarhus University, Aarhus C, Aarhus, Denmark.
  • ,
  • J Emmersen
  • ,
  • Lise Torp Jensen
  • S A Ladefoged
  • ,
  • P Thorsen
  • ,
  • S Birkelund
  • ,
  • G Christiansen

Mycoplasma hominis contains a variable adherence-associated (vaa) gene. To classify variants of the vaa genes, we examined 42 M. hominis isolated by PCR, DNA sequencing and immunoblotting. This uncovered the existence of five gene categories. Comparison of the gene types revealed a modular composition of the Vaa proteins. The proteins constituted a conserved N-terminal part followed by a varying number of interchangeable cassettes encoding approximately 110 amino acids with conserved sequences boxes flanking the cassettes. The interchangeable cassettes showed a high mutual homology and a conserved leucine zipper motif. The smallest product contained only one cassette and the largest five. Additionally, two types of stop mutations caused by substitutions resulting in the expression of truncated Vaa proteins were observed. Our results expand the known potential of the Vaa system in generating antigen variation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMolecular Microbiology
Volume29
Issue1
Pages (from-to)97-110
Number of pages14
ISSN0950-382X
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1998

    Research areas

  • Adhesins, Bacterial, Amino Acid Sequence, Antibodies, Monoclonal/immunology, Bacterial Proteins/genetics, Blotting, Northern, Epitope Mapping, Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte/immunology, Gene Amplification, Genes, Bacterial, Membrane Proteins, Microscopy, Immunoelectron, Molecular Sequence Data, Mosaicism, Mycoplasma hominis/genetics, Polymerase Chain Reaction, Sequence Analysis, DNA

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