Functional comparison of the binding of factor H short consensus repeat 6 (SCR 6) to factor H binding protein from Neisseria meningitidis and the binding of factor H SCR 18 to 20 to Neisseria gonorrhoeae porin

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases and Immunology

Publication Date


Document Type



Antigens, Bacterial; Bacterial Proteins; Binding Sites; Complement Factor H; Humans; Mutagenesis, Site-Directed; Neisseria gonorrhoeae; Neisseria meningitidis; Porins; Protein Binding; Protein Interaction Mapping


Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences


Both Neisseria meningitidis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae recruit the alternative pathway complement inhibitory protein factor H (fH) to their surfaces to evade complement-dependent killing. Meningococci bind fH via fH binding protein (fHbp), a surface-exposed lipoprotein that is subdivided into three variant families based on one classification scheme. Chimeric proteins that comprise contiguous domains of fH fused to murine Fc were used to localize the binding site for all three fHbp variants on fH to short consensus repeat 6 (SCR 6). As expected, fH-like protein 1 (FHL-1), which contains fH SCR 6, also bound to fHbp-expressing meningococci. Using site-directed mutagenesis, we identified histidine 337 and histidine 371 in SCR 6 as important for binding to fHbp. These findings may provide the molecular basis for recent observations that demonstrated human-specific fH binding to meningococci. Differences in the interactions of fHbp variants with SCR 6 were evident. Gonococci bind fH via their porin (Por) molecules (PorB.1A or PorB.1B); sialylation of lipooligosaccharide enhances fH binding. Both sialylated PorB.1B- and (unsialylated) PorB.1A-bearing gonococci bind fH through SCR 18 to 20; PorB.1A can also bind SCR 6, but only weakly, as evidenced by a low level of binding of FHL-1 relative to that of fH. Using isogenic strains expressing either meningococcal fHbp or gonococcal PorB.1B, we discovered that strains expressing gonococcal PorB.1B in the presence of sialylated lipooligosaccharide bound more fH, more effectively limited C3 deposition, and were more serum resistant than their isogenic counterparts expressing fHbp. Differences in fH binding to these two related pathogens may be important for modulating their individual responses to host immune attack.

DOI of Published Version



Infect Immun. 2009 May;77(5):2094-103. Epub 2009 Mar 9. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Infection and immunity

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Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID