Pilus+ to pilus- transitions of gonococci (Gc) that involve rearrangement of pilin gene DNA yield the P-n phenotype, which is incapable of reversion (to pilus+). Reversion to pilus+ is found for nonpiliated Gc that have undergone no apparent pilin gene rearrangement. Among the reverting, nonpiliated Gc, two distinct phenotypes (P-rp- and P-rp+) occur and are differentiated according to their synthesis (or lack) of pilin subunits; both P-rp- and P-rp+ Gc contain pilin-specific mRNA. The occurrence of these different pilus- phenotypes strongly suggests that several mechanisms can account for changes in the piliation status of Gc; one of these involves pilin gene rearrangement but the others apparently operate at posttranscriptional levels. Reverting pilus- Gc may have a pathogenic advantage in being able to reversibly alter their host cell adherence-promoting surface properties through high frequency transitions in piliation status.
Article| August 01 1985
Pilus- gonococcal variants. Evidence for multiple forms of piliation control.
Online ISSN: 1540-9538
Print ISSN: 0022-1007
J Exp Med (1985) 162 (2): 729–744.
J Swanson, S Bergström, O Barrera, K Robbins, D Corwin; Pilus- gonococcal variants. Evidence for multiple forms of piliation control.. J Exp Med 1 August 1985; 162 (2): 729–744. doi: https://doi.org/10.1084/jem.162.2.729
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