Control of Neisseria gonorrhoeae pilin gene expression by environmental factors: involvement of the pilA/pilB regulatory genes

Microbiology (Reading). 1997 May;143 ( Pt 5):1757-64. doi: 10.1099/00221287-143-5-1757.


The control of the expression of the pilin gene (pilE) in Neisseria gonorrhoeae under a wide variety of growth conditions has been studied. The expression of pilE was measured using transcriptional fusions between pilE and the gene encoding chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT), and the level of pilin production was measured by Western blot analysis. Many of the conditions tested affected both growth rate and pilin gene expression (e.g. isoleucine, high osmolarity, high temperature, anaerobic growth, pH 6, urea and iron depletion). Changes in the level of many other proteins were also observed, depending on the conditions, indicating that gonococci undergo an adaptive response to environmental variations. Moreover, environment-induced changes in the level of many proteins, including pilin, seem to involve the pilA/pilB regulatory system, which has been previously proposed to modulate the expression of the gonococcal pilin gene.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Amino Acids / pharmacology
  • Anaerobiosis
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / genetics*
  • Bacterial Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics*
  • Chloramphenicol O-Acetyltransferase / biosynthesis
  • Chloramphenicol O-Acetyltransferase / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics*
  • Fimbriae Proteins
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial*
  • Genes, Bacterial*
  • Genes, Regulator*
  • Hot Temperature
  • Iron / pharmacology
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / biosynthesis
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / genetics*
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae / genetics*
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae / growth & development
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae / pathogenicity
  • Osmotic Pressure
  • Oxidoreductases*
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Virulence / genetics


  • Amino Acids
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • pilE protein, Neisseria gonorrhoeae
  • Fimbriae Proteins
  • Iron
  • Oxidoreductases
  • pilB protein, Bacteria
  • Chloramphenicol O-Acetyltransferase