Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
In order to produce a successful infection, Neisseria gonorrhoeae (GC) must attach to and invade mucosal epithelial cells. To identify GC gene products involved in this early interaction with host cells we constructed a gene bank derived from a clinical isolate of GC, and isolated a clone which had the capacity to adhere to the human endometrial adenocarcinoma tissue-culture line HEC-1-B. The cloned sequence was identified as a member of the opa gene family whose protein products have been associated with virulence. The GC chromosome contains numerous variant opa genes which, in MS11, are designated opaA-K. Previous work showed that expression of opaC confers a highly invasive phenotype upon strain MS11. When our cloned opa gene was mutated and returned to the GC MS11A chromosome by transformation and homologous recombination, we isolated one transformation that was significantly reduced in its invasive capacity. The locus mutated in this transformant was identified as opaH. Our resuits indicate that invasive-ness of GC for human epithelail cells can be determined by more than one opa gene in strain MS11 A.
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