Gene rearrangements in the vsa locus of Mycoplasma pulmonis

Xuejun Shen, Juliann Gumulak, Huilan Yu, C. Todd French, Nianxiang Zou, Kevin Dybvig

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64 Scopus citations


The vsa genes of Mycoplasma pulmonis encode the V-1 lipoproteins. Most V-1 proteins contain repetitive domains and are thought to be involved in mycoplasma-host cell interactions. Previously, we have reported the isolation and characterization of six vsa genes comprising a 10-kb region of the genome of M. pulmonis strain KD735-15. In the current study, vsa-specific probes were used to clone several fragments from a genomic library of KD735-15 DNA and assemble a single 20-kb contig containing 11 vsa genes. The middle region of the vsa locus contains a large open reading frame (ORF) that is not a vsa gene and has undergone an internal deletion in some strains. The ORE is predicted to encode a membrane protein that may have a role in disease pathogenesis. To examine vsa genes in a strain of M. pulmonis that is unrelated to KD735-15, strain CT was studied. Through Southern hybridization and genomic cloning analyses, CT was found to possess homologs of the KD735- 15 vsaA, -C, -E, and -F genes and two unique genes (vsaG and vsaH) that were not found in KD73515. High-frequency, site-specific DNA inversions serve to regulate the phase-variable production of individual V-1 proteins. As a result of the sequence analysis of vsa recombination products, a model in which DNA inversion arises from strand exchange involving at least six nucleotides of the vrs box is proposed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2900-2908
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Bacteriology
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology


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