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Sex Transm Infect. 2001 Dec; 77(6): 402–408.
PMCID: PMC1744407

Mucinases and sialidases: their role in the pathogenesis of sexually transmitted infections in the female genital tract


Background: Mucinases and sialidases contribute to the process of invasion and colonisation in many conditions and infections of the female reproductive tract by degrading the protective cervical mucus. The role of hydrolytic enzymes in the pathogenesis of sexually transmitted diseases and their effect on cervical mucus are discussed in this review.

Methods: Articles were searched for using the keywords "sialidase," "mucinase," "protease," and "sexually transmitted infections." As well as review and other articles held by our group, searches were conducted using PubMed, Grateful Med, and the University of Bath search engine, BIDS.

Results: Numerous publications were found describing the production of hydrolytic enzymes in sexually transmitted diseases. Because the number of publications exceeded the restrictions imposed on the size of the review, the authors selected and discussed those which they considered of the most relevance to sexually transmitted infections.

Key Words: mucinase; sialidase; microbial protease

Abbreviations: BSM (bovine submaxillary mucin), BV (bacterial vaginosis); Fuc (fucose); Gal (galactose); GalNAc (N-acetylgalactosamine); Glc (glucose); GlcNAc (N-acetylglucosamine); Man (mannose); PMN (polymorphonuclear neutrophils), human immunodeficiency virus 1 (HIV-1); sIgA (secretory immunoglobulin A).

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Selected References

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