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Future Microbiol. 2008 Jun;3(3):287-98. doi: 10.2217/17460913.3.3.287.

Identification and characterization of gonococcal iron transport systems as potential vaccine antigens.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology & Immunology, Virginia Commonwealth University, PO Box 980678, Richmond, VA 23298-0678, USA.


Gonorrhea is the second most commonly reported infectious disease in the USA, and incidence has been increasing in recent years. Antibiotic resistance among clinical isolates has reached a critical point at which the CDC currently recommends only a single class of antibiotic for treatment. These developments have hastened the search for a vaccine to protect against gonococcal infections. Vaccine efforts have been thwarted by the ability of the gonococcus to antigenically vary most surface structures. The transferrin-iron transport system is not subject to high-frequency phase or antigenic variation and is expressed by all pathogenic Neisseria. Vaccine formulations comprised of epitopes of the transferrin-binding proteins complexed with inactivated cholera toxin generated antibodies with potentially protective characteristics. These antigens, and others predicted from genome sequence data, could be developed into a vaccine that protects against neisserial infections.

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