Random shuttle mutagenesis: gonococcal mutants deficient in pilin antigenic variation

Mol Microbiol. 1997 Mar;23(6):1121-31. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2958.1997.2971660.x.


Shuttle mutagenesis has been adapted to randomly mutate the genome of Neisseria gonorrhoeae (gonococcus; Gc). A size-restricted plasmid library of Gc strain FA1090 was mutated with the mini-transposon mTnEGNS. Radomness was tested by checking for transposon insertion bias between vector and insert DNA, Gc transformation efficiency of individual mutated clones, and representation of unique clones before and after Gc transformation with a mutated pool of DNA. Mutants created by random shuttle mutagenesis were screened, using a colony-based polymerase chain reaction assay, for the ability to undergo pilin antigenic variation. Out of 8,064 mutants screened, 22 unique transposon insertion mutants were found to be antigenic variation deficient (Avd). The Avd mutants were separated into five types according to recombination defect-associated phenotypes, including colony growth, natural DNA transformation competence, and repair of DNA damage caused by ultraviolet radiation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antigenic Variation / genetics
  • Antigens, Bacterial / genetics*
  • Antigens, Bacterial / immunology
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / immunology*
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Fimbriae Proteins
  • Genomic Library
  • Mutagenesis, Insertional / genetics*
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae / genetics*
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae / immunology
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • Antigens, Bacterial
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins
  • Fimbriae Proteins