Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium strain LT2 possesses two nonallelic structural genes, fliC and fljB, for flagellin, the component protein of flagellar filaments. Flagellar phase variation occurs by alternative expression of these two genes. This is controlled by the inversion of a DNA segment, called the H segment, containing the fljB promoter. H inversion occurs by site-specific recombination between inverted repetitious sequences flanking the H segment. This recombination has been shown in vivo and in vitro to be mediated by a DNA invertase, Hin, whose gene is located within the H segment. However, a search of the complete genomic sequence revealed that LT2 possesses another DNA invertase gene that is located adjacent to another invertible DNA segment within a resident prophage, Fels-2. Here, we named this gene fin. We constructed hin and fin disruption mutants from LT2 and examined their phase variation abilities. The hin disruption mutant could still undergo flagellar phase variation, indicating that Hin is not the sole DNA invertase responsible for phase variation. Although the fin disruption mutant could undergo phase variation, fin hin double mutants could not. These results clearly indicate that both Hin and Fin contribute to flagellar phase variation in LT2. We further showed that a phase-stable serovar, serovar Abortusequi, which is known to possess a naturally occurring hin mutation, lacks Fels-2, which ensures the phase stability in this serovar.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology