Pilin Regulation in the pilT Mutant of Neisseria Gonorrhoeae Strain MS11

FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2009 Jun;296(2):248-56. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6968.2009.01647.x. Epub 2009 May 8.


The ATPase protein PilT mediates retraction of type IV pili (Tfp). Tfp retraction of Neisseria gonorrhoeae causes many signal transduction events and changes in gene expression in infected epithelial cells. To find out whether a pilT mutation and lack of Tfp retraction, respectively, lead also to gene regulation in bacteria, we performed microarrays comparing the transcriptional profiles of the N. gonorrhoeae parent strain MS11 and its isogenic pilT mutant during growth in vitro. A loss-of-function-mutation in pilT led to altered transcript levels of 63 ORFs. Levels of pilE transcripts and its deduced protein, the major Tfp subunit pilin, were increased most markedly by a mutation in pilT. Further studies revealed that pilE expression was also controlled by two other genes encoding Tfp biogenesis proteins, pilD and pilF. Our studies strongly suggest that pilE expression is a finely tuned process.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Fimbriae Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Gene Deletion
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Genes, Bacterial
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae / genetics
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae / physiology*
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • pilE protein, Neisseria gonorrhoeae
  • pilF protein, Neisseria
  • Fimbriae Proteins