Neisseria spp.

  • Douglas I. Johnson


  • Genomics:
    • Neisseria gonorrhoeae (Ng) NCCP11945 chromosome: 2,232,025 bp; 2,662 predicted ORFs (Chung et al. 2008); polyploid containing two to four genome equivalents (Tobiason and Seifert 2010)

    • Neisseria meningitidis (Nm) serogroup A chromosome: 2,184,406 bp; 2,121 predicted ORFs (Parkhill et al. 2000); polyploid containing three to five genome equivalents (Tobiason and Seifert 2010)

  • Cell morphology:
    • Diplococci (small cells in Fig. 22.1) with flattened adjacent sides (Fig. 22.2):
      • Ng: gonococcus

      • Nm: meningococcus

    • Type IV pili (Tfp), present in Nm and Ng (Fig. 22.2):
      • Essential function in adherence (see below)

      • Responsible for twitching motility; due to attachment/retraction of pili

      • Important in transmission and colonization

    • Capsule, only present in Nm:
      • Responsible for the high level of virulence associated with Nm

      • Allows dissemination and survival within the bloodstream (see below)

    • Lipooligosaccharide (LOS) (Tong et al. 2002; Tsai 2001):
      • Atypical LPS; highly branched oligosaccharides

      • Undergoes antigenic variations that aid in immune evasion (see below)

  • Gram stain:
    • Gram negative

  • Growth:
    • Obligate aerobes.

    • Fastidious: requires hemoglobin, NAD (V factor), and iron [(found in chocolate agar plates (CAP)].

    • Capnophilic: requires 5–10% CO2 in vitro.

    • Temperature sensitive: clinical samples must be stored at 37 °C for survival.

    • Fragile growth: susceptible to temperature changes, drying, UV light, and other environmental conditions; does not exist outside human host niches.

    • Biofilms:
      • Ng can form biofilms during infection.

      • May play a role in persistence in women (Falsetta et al. 2011).

    • At least 25 species; only Ng and Nm are human pathogens.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Douglas I. Johnson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Microbiology & Molecular GeneticsUniversity of VermontBurlingtonUSA

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