Characterization of the repertoire of hypervariable regions in the Protein II (opa) gene family of Neisseria gonorrhoeae

Mol Microbiol. 1990 Mar;4(3):439-49. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2958.1990.tb00610.x.


P.II outer membrane proteins of Neisseria gonorrhoeae are encoded by a family of closely related genes. Although the genes are highly conserved, major differences in sequence among them occur in two short regions, designated hypervariable regions 1 (HV1) and 2 (HV2). In this study, we determined the number and DNA sequence of the hypervariable regions in the P.II genes of strains FA1090. The FA1090 chromosome contained at least eleven P.II loci, having six different versions each of HV1 and HV2 among them. Southern blotting with HV-specific oligonucleotides showed that each version was present in one to three copies, and that there were nine unique combinations of HV1 and HV2 in the P.II genes. Although each of the versions of HV1 or HV2 had a unique DNA sequence, there were some similarities among them, particularly when certain ones were compared. Restriction fragments containing only the HV regions were cloned into an expression vector to demonstrate that the epitopes recognized by a set of monoclonal antibodies specific for different FA1090 P.II proteins were completely encoded by either HV1 or HV2.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Antigens, Bacterial / genetics*
  • Antigens, Bacterial / immunology
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / genetics*
  • Base Sequence
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • DNA, Bacterial / analysis
  • Epitopes / genetics
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Multigene Family*
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae / genetics*


  • Antigens, Bacterial
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins
  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Epitopes
  • opacity proteins