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J Infect. 2008 Mar;56(3):211-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jinf.2007.12.005. Epub 2008 Jan 22.

Genotypic characterization of Neisseria meningitidis serogroup B strains circulating in China.

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College of Life Sciences, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China.



In China, comparatively little research has been directed at serogroup B meningococci, which are mainly isolated from healthy individuals. We attempted to study the genotypic characterization of Neisseria meningitidis serogroup B strains.


We analyzed 150 N. meningitidis strains isolated in China during 1975-2005 by multilocus sequence typing (MLST) and porA typing.


A total of 88 different sequence types (STs) were identified by MLST, 73 of which were newly identified. Seven complexes previously identified in other countries and three unique clonal lineages first identified in China were detected, seven of which had previously been described as 'hyperinvasive meningococcal lineages'. Several lineages were found in specified period. A total of 63 different porA types were found, 11 of which were novel. The most common porA types were P1.5-1,2-2 (17 isolates), P1.5-1,10-4 (12 isolates), P1.5-2,2-2 (eight isolates) and P1.7-2,4 (seven isolates).


In this context, serogroup B meningococci provide a diverse, continually reassorted gene pool from which new genotypes arise. The most important mechanism is probably horizontal genetic exchange among N. meningitidis serogroup B strains, possibly resulting in the emergence of new meningococcal clones. These results may help our understanding of the genotypic distribution of serogroup B meningococci and provide clues for further study of this organism.

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