Urethral exudates of men with neisseria gonorrhoeae infections select a restricted lipooligosaccharide phenotype during transmission

Stephanie E. McLaughlin, Hui Cheng, Khalil G. Ghanem, Zhijie Yang, Johan Melendez, Jonathan Zenilman, J. Mc Leod Griffiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Neisseria gonorrhoeae lipooligosaccharides (LOSs) induce immunoglobulin G that protects men from experimental infection. This raises the possibility that an LOS vaccine might prevent gonorrhea. Gonococci make different LOS molecules, depending on whether 3 genes, lgtA, lgtC, and lgtD, are in frame (IF) or out of frame (OOF). Mispairing of polymeric guanine (polyG) tracts within each gene determines its frame during replication. We amplified lgtA, lgtC, and lgtD from diagnostic slides of urethral exudates and sequenced their polyG tracts. We found that lgtA in exudative bacteria is IF and that lgtC is OOF. The frame of lgtD varied widely: it was OOF in most but not all cases. This genotype would result in synthesis of polylactosamine chains that could be sialylated. Polylactosamine chains would enhance virulence, and their sialylation would enable gonococci to survive within polymorphonuclear cells; however, an active LgtD in a few bacteria could provide a survival advantage in other sites of infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1227-1232
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Volume206
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 15 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Infectious Diseases

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