The apparent subunit sizes for pili of gonococci (Gc) have been visualized by using either Iodogen 125I-labeled whole Gc or immunoblotting with antipilus antiserum. These methods permitted definition of pilus subunit sizes for Gc of a given strain that had undergone changes either in piliation phenotype or in colonial opacity/protein II phenotype. The results indicate that pilus subunit size does not change coincident with changes in colony opacity/protein II phenotypes; but change in pilus subunit size is seen after a change in piliation phenotype (P+ leads to P++, and vice versa). Marked diversity in pilus subunit sizes is found for Gc of individual strains when P+ derivatives of P- colonies are compared. This diversity extends to pilus subunits of Gc found in single colonies; two distinct pilus forms were demonstrated for Gc residing in several single colonies. These findings show that Gc of a given strain are able to express any of a number of different pilus subunit size forms.
Gonococcal pilus subunit size heterogeneity correlates with transitions in colony piliation phenotype, not with changes in colony opacity.
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J Swanson, O Barrera; Gonococcal pilus subunit size heterogeneity correlates with transitions in colony piliation phenotype, not with changes in colony opacity.. J Exp Med 1 November 1983; 158 (5): 1459–1472. doi: https://doi.org/10.1084/jem.158.5.1459
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