Multiple Gonococcal Pilin Antigenic Variants Are Produced During Experimental Human Infections

J Clin Invest. 1994 Jun;93(6):2744-9. doi: 10.1172/JCI117290.


Gonococcal pilin variation is thought to allow immune evasion and change the adherence properties of the pilus. We have examined the process of pilin antigenic variation in human volunteers inoculated with strain FA1090. Our data show that pilin variation occurred throughout the process of infection, that at each time sampled after inoculation multiple pilin variants were present, and that later pilin variants appear to be recombinants between previously expressed genes and the silent storage pilin copies. Thus, during infection a large repertoire of proteins are available to the population to help avoid immune responses, to provide pili with varying functions, and to transmit to a new host.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / chemistry
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / immunology*
  • Base Sequence
  • Fimbriae Proteins
  • Fimbriae, Bacterial / immunology*
  • Gonorrhea / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae / immunology*
  • Recombination, Genetic


  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins
  • Fimbriae Proteins

Associated data

  • GENBANK/L28978
  • GENBANK/L28979
  • GENBANK/L28980
  • GENBANK/L28981
  • GENBANK/L28982
  • GENBANK/L28983
  • GENBANK/L28984
  • GENBANK/L28985
  • GENBANK/L28986
  • GENBANK/L28987
  • GENBANK/L28988
  • GENBANK/L28989
  • GENBANK/L28990
  • GENBANK/L28991
  • GENBANK/L28992
  • GENBANK/L28994