In this study, we investigated the variability of MutS among Pseudomonas aeruginosa recovered from cystic fibrosis (CF) patients. Sequencing of the mutS gene of 15 hypermutable P. aeruginosa isolates obtained from different patients revealed high rates of nucleotide substitutions as compared to that of strain PAO1. Significantly more synonymous than non-synonymous nucleotide substitutions have been found, indicating that generally MutS is highly conserved. The functional analysis of MutS variants by complementation of a PAO1 mutS mutant revealed 5 isolates with a defective MutS due to frameshift mutations or amino acid substitutions. This work supports the hypothesis that the respiratory tract of CF patients represents an environment that favors the selection of highly adaptive mutator phenotypes. © 2006 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.
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