Recombination, repair and replication in the pathogenic Neisseriae: the 3 R's of molecular genetics of two human-specific bacterial pathogens

Mol Microbiol. 2003 Oct;50(1):3-13. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2958.2003.03679.x.


Most of the detailed mechanisms that have been established for the molecular biological processes that mediate recombination, repair and replication of DNA have come from studies of the Escherichia coli paradigm. The human specific pathogens, Neisseria gonorrhoeae and N. meningitidis, are Gram-negative bacteria that have some molecular processes that are similar to E. coli and others that appear to be divergent. We propose that the pathogenic Neisseriae have evolved a specialized collection of molecular mechanisms to adapt to life limited to human hosts. In this MicroReview, we explore what is known about the basic processes of DNA repair, DNA recombination (genetic exchange and pilin variation) and DNA replication in these human specific pathogens.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Bacterial / genetics
  • Antigens, Bacterial / immunology
  • DNA Repair / genetics*
  • DNA Replication / genetics*
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • DNA, Bacterial / metabolism
  • Fimbriae Proteins / genetics
  • Fimbriae Proteins / immunology
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae / genetics*
  • Neisseria meningitidis / genetics*
  • Recombination, Genetic*


  • Antigens, Bacterial
  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Fimbriae Proteins