Folia Microbiologica

, Volume 43, Issue 3, pp 311–319

Pathogenic neisseriae—Interplay between pro-and eukaryotic worlds

  • T. F. Meyer

DOI: 10.1007/BF02818617

Cite this article as:
Meyer, T.F. Folia Microbiol (1998) 43: 311. doi:10.1007/BF02818617


The pathogenicNeisseria species constitute a multi-faceted infection model of a highly adapted pathogen-host relationship. Several bacterial and host-cell factors involved in the cellular cross-talk have been recently unraveled. UsingNeisseria gonorrhoeae as a prototype, several structurally variable surface proteins, including pili and Opa proteins, have been revealed as adhesins recognizing distinct host-cell receptors. The Opa proteins, in particular, are important in facilitating interaction with heparan sulfate proteoglycan receptors and members of the CD66 and integrin receptor families. These interactions not only enable the pathogens' anchoring, and penetration into, the human mucosa but also stimulate cellular signaling cascades involving the phosphatidylcholinedependent phospholipase C, acidic sphingomyelinase and protein kinase C in epithelial cells, and Src-related kinases, Rac1, p21-activated kinase and Jun N-terminal kinase in phagocytic cells. Activation of these pathways is essential for the entry and intracellular accommodation of the pathogens but also leads to an early induction of cytokine release, thus priming the immune response. It is believed that detailed knowledge of cellular signaling cascades activated by infection will aid us in applying known and novel interfering drugs, in addition to classical antibiotic therapy, to the therapeutic and prophylactic treatment of persistent or otherwise difficult-to-treat bacterial infections.

Copyright information

© Institute of Microbiology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. F. Meyer
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Max-Planck-Institut für BiologieTübingenGermany
  2. 2.Max-Planck-Institut für InfektionsbiologieBerlinGermany