The opaH locus of Neisseria gonorrhoeae MS11A is involved in epithelial cell invasion

Lillian S. Waldbeser, Richard S. Ajioka, Alexey J. Merz, Deidre Puaoi, Lan Lin, Mary Thomas, Magdalene So

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)919-928
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Microbiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology


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