Molecular and General Genetics MGG

, Volume 257, Issue 1, pp 28–34

Molecular divergence of the sia locus in different serogroups of Neisseria meningitidis expressing polysialic acid capsules

  • H. Claus
  • U. Vogel
  • M. Mühlenhoff
  • R. Gerardy-Schahn
  • M. Frosch
ORIGINAL PAPER

DOI: 10.1007/PL00008618

Cite this article as:
Claus, H., Vogel, U., Mühlenhoff, M. et al. Mol Gen Genet (1997) 257: 28. doi:10.1007/PL00008618

Abstract

The serogroups B, C, W135 and Y of Neisseria meningitidis express chemically and immunologically distinct capsular polysaccharides containing sialic acid. In the case of serogroup B meningococci sialic acid is synthesized by the gene products of a locus termed sia and forms the homopolymers of the capsule. The organization of the genes required for sialic acid synthesis in serogroups B, C, W135 and Y was elucidated by PCR technology. Cloning, sequencing and the functional expression of the polysialyltransferase (PST) genes of serogroups B and C demonstrated that the difference in capsule composition derives from the presence of related, but distinct siaD genes coding for PSTs. Analysis of meningococci of serogroups W135 and Y expressing sialic acid heteropolymers revealed that the DNA sequences of the corresponding genetic loci in these serogroups were highly homologous, but differed completely from the siaD genes of serogroups B and C. This finding suggests that enzymes unrelated to those of serogroups B and C are required for the formation of sialic acid heteropolymers characteristic of the capsules of serogroups W135 and Y.

Key wordsNeisseria meningitidis Capsule synthesis Polysialyltransferase 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Claus
    • 1
  • U. Vogel
    • 1
  • M. Mühlenhoff
    • 2
  • R. Gerardy-Schahn
    • 2
  • M. Frosch
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für Hygiene und Mikrobiologie, Universität Würzburg, Josef-Schneider-Str. 2, 97080 Würzburg, Germany Fax +931 201-3445; e-mail: mfrosch@hygiene-uni-wuerzburg.deDE
  2. 2.Institut für Medizinische Mikrobiologie, Medizinische Hochschule Hannover, 30625 Hannover, GermanyDE

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