Send to

Choose Destination
Cell. 1997 Nov 28;91(5):605-15.

Acidic sphingomyelinase mediates entry of N. gonorrhoeae into nonphagocytic cells.

Author information

Max-Planck-Institut für Biologie, Abteilung Infektionsbiologie, Tübingen, Germany.


Invasion of human mucosal cells by N. gonorrhoeae via the binding to heparansulfate proteoglycan receptors is considered a crucial event of the infection. Using different human epithelial cells and primary fibroblasts, we show here an activation of the phosphatidylcholine-specific phospholipase C (PC-PLC) and acidic sphingomyelinase (ASM) by N. gonorrhoeae, resulting in the release of diacylglycerol and ceramide. Genetic and/or pharmacological blockade of ASM and PC-PLC cause inhibition of cellular invasion by N. gonorrhoeae. Complementation of ASM-deficient fibroblasts from Niemann-Pick disease patients restored N. gonorrhoeae-induced signaling and entry processes. The activation of PC-PLC and ASM, therefore, is an essential requirement for the entry of N. gonorrhoeae into distinct nonphagocytic human cell types including several epithelial cells and primary fibroblasts.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center