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Keywords:

  • Neisseria;
  • Pilin;
  • pilE gene;
  • Commensal

Abstract

All Neisseria live in association with host cells, however, little is known about the genetic potential of nonpathogenic Neisseria species to express attachment factors such as pili. In this study, we demonstrate that type IV pilin-encoding genes are present in a wide range of Neisseria species. N. sicca, N. subflava, and N. elongata each contain two putative pilE genes arranged in tandem, while single genes were identified in N. polysaccharea, N. mucosa, and N. denitrificans. Neisserial pilE genes are highly diverse and display features consistent with a history of horizontal gene transfer.