Role of the single-stranded DNA-binding protein SsbB in pneumococcal transformation: maintenance of a reservoir for genetic plasticity

PLoS Genetics
Laetitia AttaiechJean-Pierre Claverys

Abstract

Bacteria encode a single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) binding protein (SSB) crucial for genome maintenance. In Bacillus subtilis and Streptococcus pneumoniae, an alternative SSB, SsbB, is expressed uniquely during competence for genetic transformation, but its precise role has been disappointingly obscure. Here, we report our investigations involving comparison of a null mutant (ssbB(-)) and a C-ter truncation (ssbBΔ7) of SsbB of S. pneumoniae, the latter constructed because SSBs' acidic tail has emerged as a key site for interactions with partner proteins. We provide evidence that SsbB directly protects internalized ssDNA. We show that SsbB is highly abundant, potentially allowing the binding of ~1.15 Mb ssDNA (half a genome equivalent); that it participates in the processing of ssDNA into recombinants; and that, at high DNA concentration, it is of crucial importance for chromosomal transformation whilst antagonizing plasmid transformation. While the latter observation explains a long-standing observation that plasmid transformation is very inefficient in S. pneumoniae (compared to chromosomal transformation), the former supports our previous suggestion that SsbB creates a reservoir of ssDNA, allowing successive recombination cycles. ...Continue Reading

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Citations

Feb 11, 2014·Nature Reviews. Microbiology·Calum JohnstonJean-Pierre Claverys
Feb 27, 2013·Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America·Nicolas MirouzeJean-Pierre Claverys
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Methods Mentioned

BETA
electrophoresis
PCR

Related Concepts

Bacterial Proteins
Chromosomes, Bacterial
DNA Helix Destabilizing Proteins
DNA, Bacterial
DNA, Single-Stranded
Episomes
Streptococcus pneumoniae
Transformation, Bacterial
Acids
Klebsiella pneumoniae

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