Christodoulides, Myron, Everson, J. Sylvia, Liu, Bin L., Lambden, Paul R., Watt, Peter J., Thomas, Eric J. and Heckels, John E.
Interaction of primary human endometrial cells with Neisseria gonorrhoeae expressing green fluorescent protein
Molecular Microbiology, 35, (1), . (doi:10.1046/j.1365-2958.2000.01694.x). (PMID:10632875).
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Infection of the endometrium by Neisseria gonorrhoeae is a pivotal stage in the development of pelvic inflammatory disease in women. An ex vivo model of cultures of primary human endometrial cells was developed to study gonococcal-host cell interactions. To facilitate these studies, gonococci were transformed with a hybrid shuttle vector containing the gfp gene from Aequoria victoria, encoding the green fluorescent protein (GFP), to produce intrinsically fluorescent bacteria. The model demonstrated that both pili and Opa proteins were important for both mediating gonococcal interactions with endometrial cells and inducing the secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines. Pil+ gonococci showed high levels of adherence and invasion, regardless of Opa expression, which was associated with increased secretion of IL-8 chemokine and reduced secretion of IL-6 cytokine. Gonococcal challenge also caused increased secretion of TNF-alpha cytokine, but this did not correlate with expression of pili or Opa, suggesting that release of components from non-adherent bacteria may be involved in TNF-alpha induction. Thus, the use of cultured primary endometrial cells, together with gonococci expressing green fluorescent protein, has the potential to extend significantly our knowledge, at the molecular level, of the role of this important human pathogen in the immunobiology of pelvic inflammatory disease.
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