The pilin O-glycosylation pathway of pathogenic Neisseria is a general system that glycosylates AniA, an outer membrane nitrite reductase

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2009 Jan 2;378(1):84-9. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2008.11.025. Epub 2008 Nov 14.


O-Glycosylation is emerging as a common posttranslational modification of surface exposed proteins in bacterial mucosal pathogens. In pathogenic Neisseria an O-glycosylation pathway modifies a single abundant protein, pilin, the subunit protein that forms pili. Here, we identify an additional outer membrane glycoprotein in pathogenic Neisseria, the nitrite reductase AniA, that is glycosylated in its C-terminal repeat region by the pilin glycosylation pathway. To our knowledge, this is the first report of a general O-glycosylation pathway in a prokaryote. We also show that AniA displays polymorphisms in residues that map to the surface of the protein. A frame-shift mutation abolishes AniA expression in 34% of Neisseria meningitidis strains surveyed, however, all Neisseria gonorrhoeae strains examined are predicted to express AniA, implying a crucial role for AniA in gonococcal biology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Antigens, Bacterial / chemistry
  • Antigens, Bacterial / genetics
  • Antigens, Bacterial / immunology
  • Antigens, Bacterial / metabolism*
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / chemistry
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / immunology
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Fimbriae Proteins / metabolism*
  • Glycosylation
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae / enzymology*
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae / immunology
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae / pathogenicity
  • Neisseria meningitidis / enzymology*
  • Neisseria meningitidis / pathogenicity
  • Nitrite Reductases / chemistry
  • Nitrite Reductases / genetics
  • Nitrite Reductases / immunology
  • Nitrite Reductases / metabolism*
  • Protein Conformation
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational*


  • Antigens, Bacterial
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins
  • aniA protein, Neisseria gonorrhoeae
  • Fimbriae Proteins
  • Nitrite Reductases