Summary: Autotransporters (ATs) are proteins secreted by Gram-negative bacteria that often play a role in virulence. Eight different ATs have been identified in Neisseria meningitidis, but only six of them have been characterized. AutA is one of the remaining ATs. Its expression remains controversial. Here, we show that the autA gene is present in many neisserial species, but its expression is often disrupted by various genetic features; however, it is expressed in certain strains of N.meningitidis. By sequencing the autA gene in large panels of disease isolates and Western blot analysis, we demonstrated that AutA expression is prone to phase variation at AAGC nucleotide repeats located within the DNA encoding the signal sequence. AutA is not secreted into the extracellular medium, but remains associated with the bacterial cell surface. We further demonstrate that AutA expression induces autoaggregation in a process that, dependent on the particular strain, may require extracellular DNA (eDNA). This property influences the organization of bacterial communities like lattices and biofilms. In vitro assays evidenced that AutA is a self-associating AT that binds DNA. We suggest that AutA-mediated autoaggregation might be particularly important for colonization and persistence of the pathogen in the nasopharynx of the host.