Identification of ZipA, a signal recognition particle-dependent protein from Neisseria gonorrhoeae

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A genetic screen designed to identify proteins that utilize the signal recognition particle (SRP) for targeting in Escherichia coli was used to screen a Neisseria gonorrhoeae plasmid library. Six plasmids were identified in this screen, and each is predicted to encode one or more putative cytoplasmic membrane (CM) proteins. One of these, pSLO7, has three open reading frames (ORFs), two of which have no similarity to known proteins in GenBank other than sequences from the closely related N. meningitidis. Further analyses showed that one of these, SLO7ORF3, encodes a protein that is dependent on the SRP for localization. This gene also appears to be essential in N. gonorrhoeae since it was not possible to generate null mutations in the gene. Although appearing unique to Neisseria at the DNA sequence level, SLO7ORF3 was found to share some features with the cell division gene zipA of E. coli. These features included similar chromosomal locations (with respect to linked genes) as well as similarities in the predicted protein domain structures. Here, we show that SLO7ORF3 can complement an E. coli conditional zipA mutant and therefore encodes a functional ZipA homolog in N. gonorrhoeae. This observation is significant in that it is the first ZipA homolog identified in a non-rod-shaped organism. Also interesting is that this is the fourth cell division protein (the others are FtsE, FtsX, and FtsQ) shown to utilize the SRP for localization, which may in part explain why the genes encoding the three SRP components are essential in bacteria.




Du, Y., & Arvidson, C. G. (2003). Identification of ZipA, a signal recognition particle-dependent protein from Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Journal of Bacteriology, 185(7), 2122–2130.

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