Interactions of Neisseria gonorrhoeae with human neutrophils: Gonococcal outer membrane protein II modulates neutrophil responses.
AuthorFischer, Steven Harold.
AdvisorFriedman, Richard L.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe disease gonorrhea has plagued mankind at least as long as written records have been kept (Black and Sparling, 1985). N. gonorrhoeae is still an important cause of suffering, infertility, and occasional mortality despite the fact that treatment with antibiotics is relatively easy and highly effective, even with the recent increase in penicillin-resistant isolates (Jephcott, 1986). The continued existence of this public health problem is partly the result of a reservoir of asymptomatic carriers within the community who normally don't seek treatment and continue their usual sexual practices (Handsfield, 1983; Kavli et al., 1984). Asymptomatic carriers do not have the purulent discharge characteristic of gonococcal urethritis and cervicitis in which the neutrophil is such a prominent element. Since IgM is present in only trace amounts on genital mucosa (Schumacher, 1973), and this is the "naturally occurring" antibody against gonococci (Rich and Kasper, 1982); it is not unreasonable to assume that non-opsonic chemotaxis and non-opsonic phagocytosis by PMN may play important roles in initiating the inflammatory response and symptomatology seen with gonorrhea. Further, non-opsonic phagocytic killing may be important in eventually clearing gonococcal infection since the role of specific humoral immunity is limited by the ability of gonococcus to constantly vary its antigenic facade (Zak et al., 1984). I have found that three different gonococcal strains express certain outer membrane proteins of the protein II (P.II) family which stimulate neutrophil phagocytic killing and oxidative metabolism in a highly efficient, dose-dependent manner. Other P.IIs expressed by two of the strains are non-stimulatory. Since all P.IIs have very similar physicochemical properties, these results suggest that a specific receptor-ligand interaction occurs between the gonococcal P.II and some element of the neutrophil plasma membrane. The presence or absence of pili on the gonococcal surface has no apparent effect on the ability of certain P.IIs to stimulate neutrophils. Changes in gonococcal outer membrane protein I and lipopolysaccharide, which are thought to confer serum resistance, also have no apparent effect on P.II stimulation of human PMN. Therefore, gonococcal outer membrane P.II may be an important mediator in the inflammatory response to gonococcal infection. Once gonococci are phagocytized by human PMN killing occurs rapidly and there is no evidence of significant intracellular survival. Non-oxidative killing by human chronic granulomatous disease neutrophils is as effective as the killing seen with normal PMN. Extracellular killing of gonococci does not occur to any appreciable extent.
Degree ProgramMolecular and Cellular Biology