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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 1992 Jan 15;69(3):295-9.

The serum resistance of gonococci in the majority of urethral exudates is due to sialylated lipopolysaccharide seen as a surface coat.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Birmingham, U.K.


Examined before subculture, gonococci in 18 urethral exudates collected from different patients were serum-resistant. For 15 exudates, the resistance was drastically reduced by treatment with neuraminidase and by one subculture on laboratory media. It was restored by incubation with cytidine 5'-monophospho-N-acetyl neuraminic acid (CMP-NANA). Electron microscopic examination of gonococci in eight exudates showed a surface structure stained by Ruthenium red which disappeared in most samples when they were treated with neuraminidase. These results were identical with those of previous studies on in vitro grown gonococci which had shown that serum resistance is due to sialylation of a 4.5-kDa conserved component of gonococcal lipopolysaccharide (LPS) by host CMP-NANA, which masks the target site for bactericidal IgM and renders surface LPS stainable by Ruthenium red. The serum resistance of gonococci in the remaining three exudates was not reduced by neuraminidase nor by subculture. The mechanism of this stable resistance is unknown.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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