Molecular typing of meningococci: recommendations for target choice and nomenclature

FEMS Microbiol Rev. 2007 Jan;31(1):89-96. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6976.2006.00057.x. Epub 2006 Dec 1.


The diversity and dynamics of Neisseria meningitidis populations generate a requirement for high resolution, comprehensive, and portable typing schemes for meningococcal disease surveillance. Molecular approaches, specifically DNA amplification and sequencing, are the methods of choice for various reasons, including: their generic nature and portability, comprehensive coverage, and ready implementation to culture negative clinical specimens. The following target genes are recommended: (1) the variable regions of the antigen-encoding genes porA and fetA and, if additional resolution is required, the porB gene for rapid investigation of disease outbreaks and investigating the distribution of antigenic variants; (2) the seven multilocus sequence typing loci-these data are essential for the most effective national, and international management of meningococcal disease, as well as being invaluable in studies of meningococcal population biology and evolution. These targets have been employed extensively in reference laboratories throughout the world and validated protocols have been published. It is further recommended that a modified nomenclature be adopted of the form: serogroup: PorA type: FetA type: sequence type (clonal complex), thus: B: P1.19,15: F5-1: ST-33 (cc32).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / chemistry
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • DNA, Bacterial / chemistry
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • Humans
  • Meningococcal Infections / diagnosis*
  • Neisseria meningitidis / classification*
  • Neisseria meningitidis / genetics
  • Porins / chemistry
  • Porins / genetics
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Terminology as Topic*


  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins
  • DNA, Bacterial
  • FrpB protein, bacteria
  • Porins
  • porin protein, Neisseria