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Infect Immun. Jul 1989; 57(7): 2066–2071.
PMCID: PMC313842

Sequence of the structural gene (rmpM) for the class 4 outer membrane protein of Neisseria meningitidis, homology of the protein to gonococcal protein III and Escherichia coli OmpA, and construction of meningococcal strains that lack class 4 protein.


The structural gene (rmpM) of the class 4 outer membrane protein of Neisseria meningitidis has been cloned and sequenced. The derived amino acid sequence reveals a 218-amino-acid protein following a 22-amino-acid signal peptide. The protein shows 94.2% homology with protein III of Neisseria gonorrhoeae and shares its two potential disulfide loops. The protein also shares limited homology with Escherichia coli OmpA. N. gonorrhoeae protein III has been shown to elicit blocking antibodies that prevent the killing of serum-resistant strains by immune sera (P. A. Rice, H. E. Vayo, M. R. Tam, and M. S. Blake, J. Exp. Med. 164:1735-1748, 1986). The very close homology of meningococcal class 4 protein with gonococcal protein III suggests that meningococcal outer membrane preparations containing class 4 protein may similarly stimulate blocking antibodies. In order to investigate the role of the class 4 protein in the pathogenesis of meningococcal infection, we have used an erythromycin resistance gene in developing two meningococcal strains that lack class 4 protein.

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Selected References

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