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Mol Microbiol. 2000 Jun;36(5):1059-70.

Gonococcal lipooligosaccharide is a ligand for the asialoglycoprotein receptor on human sperm.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA. Pediatric Infectious Disease Unit, Soroka University Medical Center, P.O.B. 151, Beer Sheva, Israel.


In the present study, we show that Neisseria gonorrhoeae lipooligosaccharide (LOS) can bind to the asialoglycoprotein receptor (ASGP-R) on human sperm. This work demonstrates the presence of ASGP-R on human sperm. Binding of purified ASGP-R ligand decreased in the presence of gonococci. Binding of purified iodinated gonococcal LOS identified a protein of molecular weight corresponding to that of human ASGP-R. The presence of excess unlabelled LOS blocked binding of iodinated gonococcal LOS. Binding of wild-type gonococcal LOS to sperm was higher than that of mutant LOS lacking the galactose ligand for ASGP-R. These data suggest that the ASGP-R on human sperm cells recognizes and binds wild-type gonococcal LOS. This interaction may contribute to the transmission of gonorrhea from infected males to their sexual partners.

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