Hexa-acylated lipid A is required for host inflammatory response to Neisseria gonorrhoeae in experimental gonorrhea.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Neisseria gonorrhoeae causes gonorrhea, a sexually transmitted infection characterized by inflammation of the cervix or urethra. However, a significant subset of patients with N. gonorrhoeae remain asymptomatic, without evidence of localized inflammation. Inflammatory responses to N. gonorrhoeae are generated by host innate immune recognition of N. gonorrhoeae by several innate immune signaling pathways, including lipooligosaccharide (LOS) and other pathogen-derived molecules through activation of innate immune signaling systems, including toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) and the interleukin-1β (IL-1β) processing complex known as the inflammasome. The lipooligosaccharide of N. gonorrhoeae has a hexa-acylated lipid A. N. gonorrhoeae strains that carry an inactivated msbB (also known as lpxL1) gene produce a penta-acylated lipid A and exhibit reduced biofilm formation, survival in epithelial cells, and induction of epithelial cell inflammatory signaling. We now show that msbB-deficient N. gonorrhoeae induces less inflammatory signaling in human monocytic cell lines and murine macrophages than the parent organism. The penta-acylated LOS exhibits reduced toll-like receptor 4 signaling but does not affect N. gonorrhoeae-mediated activation of the inflammasome. We demonstrate that N. gonorrhoeae msbB is dispensable for initiating and maintaining infection in a murine model of gonorrhea. Interestingly, infection with msbB-deficient N. gonorrhoeae is associated with less localized inflammation. Combined, these data suggest that TLR4-mediated recognition of N. gonorrhoeae LOS plays an important role in the pathogenesis of symptomatic gonorrhea infection and that alterations in lipid A biosynthesis may play a role in determining symptomatic and asymptomatic infections.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Zhou, X; Gao, X; Broglie, PM; Kebaier, C; Anderson, JE; Thom, N; Apicella, MA; Sempowski, GD; Duncan, JA

Published Date

  • January 2014

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 82 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 184 - 192

PubMed ID

  • 24126526

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC3911856

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1098-5522

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1128/IAI.00890-13


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States