Editor: Eduardo Rocha
Pilin gene variation in Neisseria gonorrhoeae: reassessing the old paradigms
Article first published online: 23 MAR 2009
© 2009 Federation of European Microbiological Societies. Published by Blackwell Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved
FEMS Microbiology Reviews
Special Issue: Genome Dynamics
Volume 33, Issue 3, pages 521–530, May 2009
How to Cite
Hill, S. A. and Davies, J. K. (2009), Pilin gene variation in Neisseria gonorrhoeae: reassessing the old paradigms. FEMS Microbiology Reviews, 33: 521–530. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6976.2009.00171.x
- Issue published online: 6 APR 2009
- Article first published online: 23 MAR 2009
- Received 9 October 2008; revised 9 February 2009; accepted 12 February 2009.First published online 23 March 2009.
- antigenic variation;
- gene conversion;
Neisseria gonorrhoeae displays considerable potential for antigenic variation as shown in human experimental studies. Various surface antigens can change either by antigenic variation using RecA-dependent recombination schemes (e.g. PilE antigenic variation) or, alternatively, through phase variation (on/off switching) in a RecA-independent fashion (e.g. Opa and lipooligosaccharide phase variation). PilE antigenic variation has been well documented over the years. However, with the availability of the N. gonorrhoeae FA1090 genome sequence, considerable genetic advances have recently been made regarding the mechanistic considerations of the gene conversion event, leading to an altered PilE protein. This review will compare the various models that have been presented and will highlight potential mechanistic problems that may constrain any genetic model for pilE gene variation.