Biology of the Pathogenic Neisseriae

  • T. F. Meyer
  • J. Pohlner
  • J. P. M. van Putten
Part of the Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology book series (CT MICROBIOLOGY, volume 192)


N. gonorrhoeae and N. meningitidis, the causative agents of gonorrhoea and meningitis, were discovered in 1879 and 1887 by Albert Neisser (gonococci) and Anton Weiehselbaum (meningococci), respectively, although the disease gonorrhoea had been recognized since antiquity. The Neisseriae are gramnegative bacteria usually diplococcal in shape. They include a wide variety of commensal species and two pathogenic species. Meningococci and gonococci, as well as some of their commensal relatives, only infect humans as their natural host. They represent typical mucosal colonizers. While localized infections with N. meningitidis (e.g., of the nasopharynx) of normal human individuals occur frequently and are usually asymptomatic, reminiscent of the mucosal colonization by commensal Neisseria species, under rare, as yet undefined, conditions pathogenic Neisseria disseminate to cause life-threatening or other severe diseases including meningitis, bacteremia, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and septic arthritis.


Outer Membrane Protein Neisseria Gonorrhoeae Neisseria Meningitidis Horizontal Exchange Human Fallopian Tube 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. F. Meyer
    • 1
  • J. Pohlner
    • 1
  • J. P. M. van Putten
    • 1
  1. 1.Max-Planck-Institut für Biologie, Abt. InfektionsbiologieTübingenGermany

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