Kyle P. Obergfell*, H. Steven Seifert

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


The majority of species in the genus Neisseria are commensal bacteria that colonize mucosal surfaces. The two pathogenic species, Neisseria gonorrhoeae (the gonococcus) and Neisseria meningitidis (the meningococcus), are the causative agent of gonorrhea and the primary cause of bacterial meningitis in young adults, respectively. Both organisms are strict human pathogens with no known environmental reservoirs that have evolved from commensal organisms within the human population (1). The study of the Neisseria is important for public health reasons, but also provides a defined system to study evolution of two highly related organisms that cause distinct diseases. One unique aspect of the pathogenic Neisseria is the presence of sophisticated genetic systems that contribute to pathogenesis. The processes of DNA transformation and pilin antigenic variation will be discussed in this chapter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMobile DNA III
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781683670964
ISBN (Print)9781555819200
StatePublished - May 26 2015


  • Antigenic variation models
  • DNA uptake sequence
  • Gonococcal genetic island
  • Mobile DNA
  • Nonreciprocal recombination
  • Pilin antigenic variation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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