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J Gen Microbiol. 1977 Sep;102(1):169-77.

The preparation and properties of gonococcal pili.


Pili have been isolated from Neisseria gonorrhoeae by controlled homogenization followed by selective disaggregation in sucrose and purification by CsCl density gradient centrifugation. Pili from six gonococcal strains had buoyant densities of 1-30 to 1-31 g ml-1 on CsCl. The pili were immunologically distinct when tested with rabbit antisera to purified pili. The amino acid composition of pilin from strains P9 and 201 was very similar, consisting of 208 and 212 amino acid residues respectively giving molecular weights of 22 600 and 22352. The pili contained a high proportion (46%) of non-polar amino acids. Further analysis of strain P9 pili revealed the presence of 1 to 2 phosphate groups and 1 to 2 hexose groups per pilin subunit; no amino sugars were detected. Pili from strain P9 were resolved into two bands by equilibrium density gradient centrifugation or column isoelectric focusing, suggesting the presence of more than one kind of pilus.

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