Cloning and nucleotide sequence of frpC, a second gene from Neisseria meningitidis encoding a protein similar to RTX cytotoxins

Stuart A. Thompson, Lisa L. Wang, P. Frederick Sparling

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Neisseria meningitidis FAM20 has recently been shown to produce two Fe‐regulated proteins (FrpA and FrpC) related to the RTX family of cytotoxins. Here we report the cloning and DNA sequence of the locus containing the gene encoding the larger meningococcal RTX protein FrpC. FrpC was highly similar to FrpA throughout much of the predicted protein, with two main differences. Whereas the FrpA protein had 13 copies of the nine‐amino‐acid repeat units typical of RTX proteins, FrpC had 43 copies. The additional copies in FrpC apparently arose from a threefold tandem amplification of a 600bp DNA fragment encoding the repeats. In addition, the frpC gene lacked good promoter consensus sequences. An open reading frame (0RF1) of unknown function was found immediately upstream of frpC, suggesting the possibility that frpC was cotranscribed with ORF1. A probable promoter was found 300 bp upstream of ORF1, and it contained a Fur protein‐binding sequence found in the promoters of Fe‐regulated Escherichia coli genes. DNA upstream of the ORF 1/frpC promoter was homologous to IStO76‐like elements surrounding capsulation loci of strains of Haemophilus influenzae. A FrpC‐like protein (reactive in immunoblots with monoclonal antibody 9D4; multiple reactive bands of about 200 to 120kDa) was found in five out of eight meningococcal strains but only in one out of 14 other Neisseria, suggesting that FrpC may participate in the pathogenesis of meningococcal disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-96
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular Microbiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1993
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology

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