Transcriptome analysis of Neisseria meningitidis during infection

J Bacteriol. 2003 Jan;185(1):155-64. doi: 10.1128/JB.185.1.155-164.2003.


Neisseria meningitidis is the cause of septicemia and meningococcal meningitis. During the course of infection, N. meningitidis encounters multiple environments within its host, which makes rapid adaptation to environmental changes a crucial factor for neisserial pathogenicity. Employing oligonucleotide-based DNA microarrays, we analyzed the transcriptome of N. meningitidis during two key steps of meningococcal infection, i.e., the interaction with epithelial cells (HeLa cells) and endothelial cells (human brain microvascular endothelial cells). Seventy-two genes were differentially regulated after contact with epithelial cells, and 48 genes were differentially regulated after contact with endothelial cells, including a considerable proportion of well-known virulence genes. While a considerable number of genes were in concordance between bacteria adherent to both cell types, we identified several open reading frames that were differentially regulated in only one system. The data obtained with this novel approach may provide insight into the pathogenicity mechanisms of N. meningitidis and could demonstrate the importance of gene regulation on the transcriptional level during different stages of meningococcal infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Adhesion
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Brain / blood supply
  • Brain / cytology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Endothelium, Vascular / microbiology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial*
  • HeLa Cells / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Meningococcal Infections / microbiology
  • Neisseria meningitidis / genetics
  • Neisseria meningitidis / metabolism
  • Neisseria meningitidis / pathogenicity*
  • Neisseria meningitidis, Serogroup B / genetics
  • Neisseria meningitidis, Serogroup B / metabolism
  • Neisseria meningitidis, Serogroup B / pathogenicity
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Open Reading Frames
  • Proteome*
  • Sialyltransferases / genetics
  • Sialyltransferases / metabolism
  • Transcription, Genetic*


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Proteome
  • Sialyltransferases