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Infect Immun. 1987 Jun; 55(6): 1359–1364.
PMCID: PMC260520

Induction and repression of outer membrane proteins by anaerobic growth of Neisseria gonorrhoeae.


Neisseria gonorrhoeae is generally considered to be an obligate aerobe; it can, however, grow in the absence of oxygen by anaerobic respiration by using nitrite as a terminal electron acceptor. The outer membrane protein compositions of aerobically and anaerobically grown N. gonorrhoeae strains were compared by one- and two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. Anaerobically grown strains expressed at least three proteins (Pan 1 to Pan 3) at much higher levels than did aerobically grown cells. Conversely, at least five other proteins (Pox 1 to Pox 5) were found to be expressed at significantly higher levels in aerobically grown cells. None of the Pan or Pox proteins were heat modifiable, and none of the heat-modifiable protein IIs or other major outer membrane proteins (protein I, protein III, pilin, or H-8 protein) were significantly altered in expression by anaerobic growth. There were also no apparent differences in lipopolysaccharide composition in aerobically and anaerobically grown gonococci. The regulation of protein expression by oxygen availability suggests that anaerobic growth is a physiologically significant state for this organism.

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