Cloning and characterisation of the Neisseria gonorrhoeaearoB gene
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The gene coding for the 3-dehydroquinate synthetase (aroB) of Neisseria gonorrhoeae has been cloned by functional complementation of an Escherichia coli aroB mutant. The aroB gene isolated from a gonococcal plasmid library encodes a 359 amino acid protein with a molecular mass of 38.6 kDa. Alignment of different prokaryotic and eukaryotic aroB gene products reveals an overall identity ranging from 33 to 55%. An open reading frame coding for an aroK homologue is located immediately upstream of aroB. Downstream of aroB a region of inverted repeats and a gene showing high homology to yafJ of E. coli has been identified. Disruption of aroB generates a gonococcal mutant that is unable to grow in the absence of aromatic compounds. Complementation of the mutant with the intact aroB gene intrans indicates that the gene is responsible for the auxotrophic phenotype. In infection assays with AroB-deficient gonococcal strains, binding, entry and short-term survival in epithelial cells is not affected. The aroB gene might be useful as a selectable marker and target for attenuation of a gonococcal live vaccine strain or as a biosafe laboratory strain.
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