Author(s): Banerjee A, Wang R, Supernavage SL, Ghosh SK, Parker J,
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Abstract The pilin glycoprotein (PilE) is the main building block of the pilus of Neisseria gonorrhoeae (gonococcus [GC]). GC pilin is known to carry a disaccharide O-glycan, which has an alphaGal attached to the O-linked GlcNAc by a 1-3 glycosidic bond. In this report, we describe the cloning and characterization of the GC gene, pilus glycosyl transferase A (pgtA), which encodes the galactosyl transferase that catalyzes the synthesis of this Gal-GlcNAc bond of pilin glycan. A homopolymeric tract of Gs (poly-G) is present in the pgtA gene of many GC strains, and this pgtA with poly-G can undergo phase variation (Pv). However, in many other GC, pgtA lacks the poly-G and is expressed constitutively without Pv. Furthermore, by screening a large number of clinical isolates, a significant correlation was observed between the presence of poly-G in pgtA and the dissemination of GC infection. Poly-G was found in pgtA in all (24 out of 24) of the isolates from patients with disseminated gonococcal infection (DGI). In contrast, for the vast majority (20 out of 28) of GC isolated from uncomplicated gonorrhea (UG) patients, pgtA lacked the poly-G. These results indicate that Pv of pgtA is likely to be involved in the conversion of UG to DGI.
This article was published in J Exp Med
and referenced in Journal of Glycomics & Lipidomics