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J Bacteriol. Mar 1980; 141(3): 1183–1191.
PMCID: PMC293807

Characterization of Serologically Dominant Outer Membrane Proteins of Neisseria gonorrhoeae


The proteins of the outer membrane of Neisseria gonorrhoeae play an important role in the serotyping system defined by K. H. Johnston et al. (J. Exp. Med. 143:741–758, 1976). This study attempted to delineate the molecular arrangement of the major proteins of the outer membrane of the gonococcus by using three approaches. First, natural protein-protein relationships were demonstrated by symmetrical, two-dimensional sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. Second, proteins exposed on the surface of outer membrane vesicles were cross-linked by using the bifunctional reagents dimethyl-3,3′-dithiobispropionimidate and dithiobis[succinimidyl propionate]. Third, specific antigen-antibody interactions on the surface of membrane vesicles were analyzed by radioautographic techniques. The major proteins of the outer membrane of the gonococcus were defined, and a nomenclature was devised to take into account the effects of heat and reducing agents on the resolution of these proteins by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. Results of cross-linking experiments strongly suggest that two of the major proteins of the gonococcal outer membrane (proteins 1 and 3) form a hydrophobically associated trimeric unit in situ which can be stabilized by selective cross-linking reagents. Results substantiated that these proteins are responsible for imparting serotypic specificity.

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Selected References

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