Phage proteins are expressed on the surface of Neisseria gonorrhoeae and are potential vaccine candidates.
ABSTRACT: All Neisseria gonorrhoeae strains whose DNA sequences have been determined possess filamentous phage sequences representing their full genomes. The presence of filamentous phage DNA sequences in all sequenced N. gonorrhoeae strains suggest that purified phage particles might be used as a gonococcal vaccine. To test this hypothesis, we purified filamentous Ngo?fil phages and immunized rabbits subcutaneously. The elicited sera contained large quantities of anti-phage IgG and IgA antibodies that bound to the surface of N. gonorrhoeae cells, as shown by ELISA and flow cytometry. The elicited sera bound to the structural Ngo?6fil proteins present in phage particles and to N. gonorrhoeae cells. The sera did not react with gonococcal outer membrane proteins. The sera also had bactericidal activity and blocked adhesion of gonococci to tissue culture cells. These data demonstrate that Ngo?fil phage particles can induce antibodies with anti-gonococcal activity and may be a candidate for vaccine development.
Project description:All Neisseria gonorrhoeae strains whose DNA sequences have been determined possess filamentous phage DNA sequences. To ascertain if phage encoded proteins could form the basis of a gonococcal vaccine, rabbits were orally infected with S. enterica Typhimurium strain ?3987 harboring phagemid Ngo?6?fm. The elicited sera contained large quantities of anti-phage IgG and IgA antibodies that bound to the surface of N. gonorrhoeae cells, as shown by indirect fluorescent analysis and flow cytometry. The elicited sera was able to bind to several phage proteins. The sera also had bactericidal activity. These data demonstrate that N. gonorrhoeae filamentous phage can induce antibodies with anti-gonococcal activity and that phage proteins may be a candidate for vaccine development.
Project description:All Neisseria gonorrhoeae strains contain multiple copies of integrated filamentous phage genomes with undefined structures. In this study, we sought to characterize the capsid proteins of filamentous N. gonorrhoeae bacteriophage Ngo?6 and phagemids propagated in different bacteria. The data demonstrate that purified phage contain phage-encoded structural proteins and bacterial host proteins; host proteins consistently copurified with the phage particles. The bacterial host proteins associated with the phage filament (as identified by mass spectrometry) tended to be one of the predominant outer membrane components of the host strain, plus minor additional host proteins. We were able to copurify a functional ß-lactamase, a phagemid-encoded protein, with phage filaments. We used protein modeling and immunological analysis to identify the major phage encoded structural proteins. The antigenic properties of these proteins depended on the bacterium where the phages were propagated. Polyclonal antibodies against N. gonorrhoeae phage Ngo?6 recognized phage-encoded proteins if the phage was propagated in N. gonorrhoeae or H. influenzae cells but not if it was propagated in Salmonella or E. coli. We show that the phage filaments isolated from gonococci and Haemophilus are glycosylated, and this may explain the antigenic diversity seen. Taken en toto, the data demonstrate that while the neisserial filamentous phage are similar to other Inovirus with respect to overall genomic organization, their ability to closely associate with host proteins suggests that they have unique surface properties and are secreted by a here-to-fore unknown secretory pathway.
Project description:We constructed a phagemid consisting of the whole genome of the Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacteriophage Ngo?6 cloned into a pBluescript plasmid derivative lacking the f1 origin of replication (named pBS::?6). Escherichia coli cells harboring pBS::?6 were able to produce a biologically active phagemid, Ngo?6fm, capable of infecting, integrating its DNA into the chromosome of, and producing progeny phagemids in, a variety of taxonomically distant Gram-negative bacteria, including E. coli, Haemophilus influenzae, Neisseria sicca, Pseudomonas sp., and Paracoccus methylutens. A derivative of pBS::?6 lacking the phage orf7 gene, a positional homolog of filamentous phage proteins that mediate the interaction between the phage and the bacterial pilus, was capable of producing phagemid particles that were able to infect E. coli, Haemophilus influenzae, N. sicca, Pseudomonas sp., and Paracoccus methylutens, indicating that Ngo?6 infects cells of these species using a mechanism that does not involve the Orf7 gene product and that Ngo?6 initiates infection through a novel process in these species. We further demonstrate that the establishment of the lysogenic state does not require an active phage integrase. Since phagemid particles were capable of infecting diverse hosts, this indicates that Ngo?6 is the first broad-host-range filamentous bacteriophage described.
Project description:Neisseria gonorrhoeae, the causative agent of the sexually transmitted disease gonorrhea, can infect and colonize multiple mucosal sites in both men and women. The ability to cope with different environmental conditions requires tight regulation of gene expression. In this study, we identified and characterized a gonococcal transcriptional regulatory protein (Neisseria phage repressor [Npr]) that was previously annotated as a putative gonococcal phage repressor protein. Npr was found to repress transcription of NGNG_00460 to NGNG_00463 (NGNG_00460-00463), an operon present within the phage locus Ngo?4. Npr binding sites within the NGNG_00460-00463 promoter region were found to overlap the -10 and -35 promoter motifs. A gonococcal npr mutant demonstrated increased adherence to and invasion of human endocervical epithelial cells compared to a wild-type gonococcal strain. Likewise, the gonococcal npr mutant exhibited enhanced colonization in a gonococcal mouse model of mucosal infection. Analysis of the gonococcal npr mutant using RNA sequence (RNA-seq) analysis demonstrated that the Npr regulon is limited to the operon present within the phage locus. Collectively, our studies have defined a new gonococcal phage repressor protein that controls the transcription of genes implicated in gonococcal pathogenesis.
Project description:Neisseria spp. possess four genogroups of filamentous prophages, termed Nf1 to 4. A filamentous bacteriophage from the Nf1 genogroup termed meningococcal disease-associated phage (MDA ?) is associated with clonal complexes of Neisseria meningitidis that cause invasive meningococcal disease. Recently, we recovered an isolate of Neisseria gonorrhoeae (ExNg63) from a rare case of gonococcal meningitis, and found that it possessed a region with 90% similarity to Nf1 prophages, specifically, the meningococcal MDA ?. This led to the hypothesis that the Nf1 prophage may be more widely distributed amongst the genus Neisseria. An analysis of 92 reference genomes revealed the presence of intact Nf1 prophages in the commensal species, Neisseria lactamica and Neisseria cinerea in addition to the pathogen N. gonorrhoeae. In N. gonorrhoeae, Nf1 prophages had a restricted distribution but were present in all representatives of MLST ST1918. Of the 160 phage integration sites identified, only one common insertion site was found between one isolate of N. gonorrhoeae and N. meningitidis. There was an absence of any obvious conservation of the receptor for prophage entry, PilE, suggesting that the phage may have been obtained by natural transformation. An examination of the restriction modification systems and mutated mismatch repair systems with prophage presence suggested that there was no obvious preference for these hosts. A timed phylogeny inferred that N. meningitidis was the donor of the Nf1 prophages in N. lactamica and N. gonorrhoeae. Further work is required to determine whether Nf1 prophages are active and can act as accessory colonization factors in these species.
Project description:Infection with Neisseria gonorrhoeae does not induce specific immunity or immune memory. Our previous studies in a murine model of vaginal gonococcal infection showed that innate immunity governed by Th17 cells was a critical aspect of the immune response elicited by this pathogen. Herein we show that N. gonorrhoeae selectively inhibited Th1 and Th2 cells and enhanced Th17 cell development through the induction of TGF-?. Whereas Th17 responses depended on gonococcal lipooligosaccharide acting through TLR4, the inhibitory effect of N. gonorrhoeae on Th1/Th2 responses involved gonococcal Opa proteins. In vitro Th17 responses to N. gonorrhoeae could be diverted to Th1/Th2 by blockade of TGF-?, but not by blockade of IL-17. The results reveal that N. gonorrhoeae suppresses Th1/Th2-mediated adaptive immune response through mechanisms dependent on TGF-?, and that this effect can be manipulated to promote the development of adaptive immunity.
Project description:When grown under anaerobic conditions, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, the etiologic agent of the sexually transmitted disease gonorrhea, expresses several novel outer membrane proteins. One of these, Pan 1, has an apparent molecular mass of 54 kDa in electrophoresis and is recognized by serum samples from patients with gonococcal infection. The presence of antibodies to this protein in patient sera suggests that Pan 1 is expressed during gonococcal infection and, more importantly, that N. gonorrhoeae grows anaerobically in vivo. We have cloned the Pan 1 structural gene, aniA, by screening a gonococcal lambda gt11 expression library with monospecific, polyclonal anti-Pan 1 antiserum. Three distinct immunoreactive recombinants, containing overlapping fragments of DNA, were isolated and confirmed to be coding for Pan 1 protein sequences. Northern (RNA blot) hybridization of an insert from an aniA recombinant to total gonococcal cellular RNA revealed the presence of a 1.5-kb transcript that was specific to RNA from anaerobically grown gonococci, indicating that the aniA gene is regulated at the transcriptional level and is monocistronic. To characterize the aniA gene, we have sequenced the entire 2-kb region spanned by the overlapping recombinants. We have also performed primer extension analysis on RNA isolated from aerobically and anaerobically grown gonococci in order to define the aniA promoter region. Two putative primer extension products specific to organisms grown anaerobically were identified by homology to known Escherichia coli promoter sequences, suggesting that the regulation of aniA expression involves multiple promoter regions.
Project description:Neisseria gonorrhoeae is a gram-negative pathogen that is capable of satisfying its iron requirement with human iron-binding proteins such as transferrin and lactoferrin. Transferrin-iron utilization involves specific binding of human transferrin at the cell surface to what is believed to be a complex of two iron-regulated, transferrin-binding proteins, TbpA and TbpB. The genes encoding these proteins have been cloned and sequenced from a number of pathogenic, gram-negative bacteria. In the current study, we sequenced four additional tbpA genes from other N. gonorrhoeae strains to begin to assess the sequence diversity among gonococci. We compared these sequences to those from other pathogenic bacteria to identify conserved regions that might be important for the structure and function of these receptors. We generated polyclonal mouse sera against synthetic peptides deduced from the TbpA sequence from gonococcal strain FA19. Most of these synthetic peptides were predicted to correspond to surface-exposed regions of TbpA. We found that, while most reacted with denatured TbpA in Western blots, only one antipeptide serum reacted with native TbpA in the context of intact gonococci, consistent with surface exposure of the peptide to which this serum was raised. In addition, we evaluated a panel of gonococcal strains for antigenic diversity using these antipeptide sera.
Project description:Neisseria gonorrhoeae is a bacterial pathogen responsible for the sexually transmitted infection gonorrhea. Emergence of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) of N. gonorrhoeae worldwide has resulted in limited therapeutic choices for this infection. Men who seek treatment often have symptomatic urethritis; in contrast, gonococcal cervicitis in women is usually minimally symptomatic, but may progress to pelvic inflammatory disease. Previously, we reported the first analysis of gonococcal transcriptome expression determined in secretions from women with cervical infection. Here, we defined gonococcal global transcriptional responses in urethral specimens from men with symptomatic urethritis and compared these with transcriptional responses in specimens obtained from women with cervical infections and in vitro-grown N. gonorrhoeae isolates. This is the first comprehensive comparison of gonococcal gene expression in infected men and women. RNA sequencing analysis revealed that 9.4% of gonococcal genes showed increased expression exclusively in men and included genes involved in host immune cell interactions, while 4.3% showed increased expression exclusively in women and included phage-associated genes. Infected men and women displayed comparable antibiotic-resistant genotypes and in vitro phenotypes, but a 4-fold higher expression of the Mtr efflux pump-related genes was observed in men. These results suggest that expression of AMR genes is programed genotypically and also driven by sex-specific environments. Collectively, our results indicate that distinct N. gonorrhoeae gene expression signatures are detected during genital infection in men and women. We propose that therapeutic strategies could target sex-specific differences in expression of antibiotic resistance genes.IMPORTANCE Recent emergence of antimicrobial resistance of Neisseria gonorrhoeae worldwide has resulted in limited therapeutic choices for treatment of infections caused by this organism. We performed global transcriptomic analysis of N. gonorrhoeae in subjects with gonorrhea who attended a Nanjing, China, sexually transmitted infection (STI) clinic, where antimicrobial resistance of N. gonorrhoeae is high and increasing. We found that N. gonorrhoeae transcriptional responses to infection differed in genital specimens taken from men and women, particularly antibiotic resistance gene expression, which was increased in men. These sex-specific findings may provide a new approach to guide therapeutic interventions and preventive measures that are also sex specific while providing additional insight to address antimicrobial resistance of N. gonorrhoeae.
Project description:Bioinformatic analysis of the genome sequence of Neisseria gonorrhoeae revealed the presence of nine probable prophage islands. The distribution, conservation and function of many of these sequences, and their ability to produce bacteriophage particles are unknown.Our analysis of the genomic sequence of FA1090 identified five genomic regions (NgoPhi1 - 5) that are related to dsDNA lysogenic phage. The genetic content of the dsDNA prophage sequences were examined in detail and found to contain blocks of genes encoding for proteins homologous to proteins responsible for phage DNA replication, structural proteins and proteins responsible for phage assembly. The DNA sequences from NgoPhi1, NgoPhi2 and NgoPhi3 contain some significant regions of identity. A unique region of NgoPhi2 showed very high similarity with the Pseudomonas aeruginosa generalized transducing phage F116. Comparative analysis at the nucleotide and protein levels suggests that the sequences of NgoPhi1 and NgoPhi2 encode functionally active phages, while NgoPhi3, NgoPhi4 and NgoPhi5 encode incomplete genomes. Expression of the NgoPhi1 and NgoPhi2 repressors in Escherichia coli inhibit the growth of E. coli and the propagation of phage lambda. The NgoPhi2 repressor was able to inhibit transcription of N. gonorrhoeae genes and Haemophilus influenzae HP1 phage promoters. The holin gene of NgoPhi1 (identical to that encoded by NgoPhi2), when expressed in E. coli, could serve as substitute for the phage lambda s gene. We were able to detect the presence of the DNA derived from NgoPhi1 in the cultures of N. gonorrhoeae. Electron microscopy analysis of culture supernatants revealed the presence of multiple forms of bacteriophage particles.These data suggest that the genes similar to dsDNA lysogenic phage present in the gonococcus are generally conserved in this pathogen and that they are able to regulate the expression of other neisserial genes. Since phage particles were only present in culture supernatants after induction with mitomycin C, it indicates that the gonococcus also regulates the expression of bacteriophage genes.