Characterization of fourteen strains of Neisseria gonorrhoeae: structural analyses and serum reactivities

R. K. Pettit, J. C. Szuba, R. C. Judd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Resistance to normal human serum (NHS) killing in Neisseria gonorrhoeae has been associated with particular types of Protein I (PI) and lipopolysaccharide (LPS), but many exceptions exist, and the role of these structures in determining serum reactivities remains controversial. In reality, the response of the gonococcus to NHS is probably governed by several parameters involving a number of outer‐membrane (OM) components. We surveyed the serum reactivities of 14 strains of N. gonorrhoeae and characterized each of their major OM components. The strains presented a spectrum of sensitivity to pooled NHS. As assessed by sodium dodecyl sulphate–polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, immunoblotting, and peptide mapping, the strains were also quite heterogeneous in terms of PI, H.8 antigen, and LPS type, and the presence of the 2‐1‐L8 epitope. Five of the strains had identical PIAs in varying LPS and H.8 backgrounds, and four had Identical PIBs in varying LPS and H.8 backgrounds. As assessed by electrophoretic migration and monoclonal antibody binding. Protein III and the 44000 Dalton protein were identical in these strains. We found no association between PI subclass and serum sensitivity, while H.8 and LPS variation appeared to be related to bactericidal responses. The diversity and close interaction of gonococcal components in the OM are undoubtedly involved in differential abilities to survive NHS killing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1293-1301
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular Microbiology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1990
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology


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