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J Clin Invest. Jan 1993; 91(1): 339–343.
PMCID: PMC330031

Antibody to Rmp (outer membrane protein 3) increases susceptibility to gonococcal infection.


The severe adverse effects of gonococcal infection on human fertility suggests that Neisseria gonorrhoeae would exert powerful selection for the development of a protective immune response in humans. N. gonorrhoeae is an obligate human pathogen and must persist in humans to survive. Since it is an ecologically successful organism, it must have evolved strategies to evade any human immune response it elicits. In a longitudinal study among 243 women working as prostitutes and experiencing frequent gonococcal infection, younger women, women with HIV infection, and women with antibody to the gonococcal outer membrane protein 3 (Rmp) were at increased risk of infection (adjusted odds ratio 3.4, CI95% 1.1-10.4, P < 0.05). Rmp is highly conserved in N. gonorrhoeae and the blocking of mucosal defences may be one of its functions. As similar proteins occur in many gram negative mucosal pathogens, the enhancing effect of such proteins may be a general strategy whereby bacteria evade human immune responses.

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Selected References

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