Studies on gonococcus infection. XVII. IgA1-cleaving protease in vaginal washings from women with gonorrhea

J Infect Dis. 1979 Jan;139(1):89-92. doi: 10.1093/infdis/139.1.89.


Vaginal washings from women attending a veneral disease clinic were examined for the presence of protease that cleaved IgA subclass 1 (IgA1). In a crude assay, vaginal washings cleaved [125I]IgA1 in 19 of 25 specimens from individuals from whom Neisseria gonorrhoeae were cultivated. Forty-six specimens from 104 women whose cultures were negative for N. gonorrhoeae also cleaved [125I]IgA1. Vaginal washings from six of six women with culture-proven gonorrhea cleaved [125I]IgA1 into low-molecular-weight components identical to those produced by partially purified IgA1-specific protease from gonococci. The hydrolysis of [125I]IgA1 by vaginal washings from women whose cultures were negative for N. gonorrhoeae yielded cleavage products that resembled those of trypsin or alpha-chymotrypsin. These findings indicate that gonococci residing in the female genital tract produce IgA1-specific protease that can be detected in the vaginal washings of infected women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Female
  • Gonorrhea / enzymology*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G*
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae / enzymology
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae / isolation & purification
  • Peptide Hydrolases / analysis*
  • Peptide Hydrolases / pharmacology
  • Vagina / enzymology


  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Peptide Hydrolases