Recombination among protein II genes of Neisseria gonorrhoeae generates new coding sequences and increases structural variability in the protein II family

Mol Microbiol. 1988 Mar;2(2):227-36. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2958.1988.tb00024.x.


Expression of Neisseria gonorrhoeae Protein II (P.II) is subject to phase variation and antigenic variation. The P.II proteins made by one strain possess both unique and conserved antigenic determinants. To study the mechanism of antigenic variation, we cloned several P.II genes, using as probes a panel of monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) specific for unique determinants. The DNA sequences of three P.II genes showed that they shared a conserved framework, with two short hypervariable (HV) regions being responsible for most of the differences among them. We demonstrated that unique epitopes recognized by the MAbs were at least partially encoded by one of the HV regions. Moreover, we found that reassortment of the two HV regions among P.II genes occurs, generating increased structural and antigenic variability in the P.II protein family.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Bacterial / genetics*
  • Base Sequence
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Conjugation, Genetic
  • Epitopes / analysis
  • Genes*
  • Genes, Bacterial*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae / genetics*
  • Nucleic Acid Hybridization
  • Recombination, Genetic*
  • Repetitive Sequences, Nucleic Acid


  • Antigens, Bacterial
  • Epitopes
  • opacity proteins

Associated data

  • GENBANK/Y00500