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Journal Article

Gonococcal pilus: genetics and structure


Meyer,  Thomas F.
Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Max Planck Society;

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So, M., Billyard, E., Deal, C., Getzoff, E., Hagblom, P., Meyer, T. F., et al. (1985). Gonococcal pilus: genetics and structure. Genetic Approaches to Microbial Pathogenicity, 118, 13-28. doi:10.1007/978-3-642-70586-1_2.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0005-79AC-2
Antigenic variation is a means by which many infectious organisms evade the host immune response. This phenomenon has been observed in animal viruses (e.g., influenza virus), parasites (e.g., Trypanosoma brucei), and bacteria (e.g., Borrelia recurrentis). Recent work has shown that two surface proteins of Neisseria gonorrhoeae undergo antigenic variation as well. These two virulence factors are the pilus and the opacity (PII) proteins, both of which promote gonococcal binding to host (human) epithelial cells (BUCHANAN and PIERCE 1976; SWANSON 1973). In this chapter, we shall emphasize the work done on the pilus system. We present evidence that phase and antigenic variation are closely linked phenomena; that the regulation of pilus expression is reminiscent of yeast mating type interconversion and of immunoglobulin gene rearrangement; and that the gonococcal pilin belongs to a class or family of bacterial pilins with a common subunit structure.