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Cell Microbiol. 2001 Oct;3(10):681-91.

CEACAM is not necessary for Neisseria gonorrhoeae to adhere to and invade female genital epithelial cells.

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Centre for Immunochemistry, VA Medical Center, San Francisco, CA, USA.


Neisseria gonorrhoeae has a repertoire of up to 11 opacity-associated (Opa) proteins that are adhesins. Most Opa proteins adhere to CEACAM antigens and when CEACAM molecules are present on the surface of transfected epithelial cells their binding by Opa is thought to induce invasion of these cells by gonococci. In this study, we investigated whether several malignant epithelial cell lines, normal cervical and fallopian tube epithelial cell cultures, as well as normal fallopian tube tissue express several of the CEACAM molecules, and whether gonococci use these molecules for adherence and invasion of these female genital epithelial cells. A primary cervical cell culture and metastatic cervical cell line ME180 both expressed CEACAM as shown by whole cell ELISA and flow cytometry, and increased the surface expression of total CEACAM during incubation with Opa+ gonococci. Opa+ gonococci both adhered to and invaded these cells; CEACAM-specific monoclonal antibody (MAb) partially abolished this interaction. Two primary fallopian epithelial tube cell cultures, a primary cervical cell culture and two malignant cell lines, HEC-1-B and HeLa, did not express CEACAM nor was CEACAM mRNA present. No evidence of either intracellular or secreted extracellular CEACAM was found with HEC-1-B and HeLa cells. Opa+ gonococci both adhered to and invaded CEACAM non-expressing cells; however, Opa+ gonococcal association with these non-expressing cell lines could not be inhibited with CEACAM-specific MAb. These data show that CEACAM is not always expressed on female genital epithelial cells and is not essential for gonococcal adherence and invasion. However, when CEACAM is expressed, Opa+ gonococci exploit it for the adherence to and invasion of these cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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