MetQ of Neisseria gonorrhoeae is a surface-expressed antigen that elicits bactericidal and functional blocking antibodies
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Neisseria gonorrhoeae, the causative agent of the sexually transmitted infection (STI) gonorrhea, is a growing public health threat for which a vaccine is urgently needed. We characterized the functional role of the gonococcal MetQ protein, which is the methionine binding component of an ABC transporter system, and assessed its potential as a candidate antigen for inclusion in a gonococcal vaccine. MetQ has been found to be highly conserved in all strains investigated to date, it is localized on the bacterial surface, and it binds L-methionine with a high affinity. MetQ is also involved in gonococcal adherence to cervical epithelial cells. Mutants lacking MetQ have impaired survival in human monocytes, macrophages, and serum. Furthermore, antibodies raised against MetQ are bactericidal and are able to block gonococcal adherence to epithelial cells. These data suggest that MetQ elicits both bactericidal and functional blocking antibodies and is a valid candidate antigen for additional investigation and possible inclusion in a vaccine for prevention of gonorrhea.
Infection and Immunity
© 2017 Semchenko et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Immunology not elsewhere classified