Three highly mutable loci of the wall-less pathogens Mycoplasma bovis, Mycoplasma pulmonis and Mycoplasma agalactiae undergo high-frequency genomic rearrangements and generate extensive antigenic variation of major surface lipoproteins. Adjacent to each locus, an open reading frame exists as a single chromosomal copy and is predicted to encode a site-specific DNA recombinase exhibiting high homology to the recombinases XerD of Escherichia coli and CodV of Bacillus subtilis. Each of the mycoplasmal proteins are members of the λ integrase family of tyrosine site-specific recombinases and likely mediates site-specific DNA inversions observed within the adjacent, variable loci.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was supported in part by the German–Israeli Foundation for Scientific Research and Development (GIF), by research Grant No. IS-2540-95R from BARD, The United States–Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund by the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities Foundation and in part by the US Public Health Service grant AI41113 to K.D. from the National Institutes of Health. Y.R. was supported by the Yeshaya Horowitz Fellowship.
- Antigenic variation
- Site-specific DNA inversion
- Tyrosine recombinase