Proteomic analysis of outer membranes and vesicles from wild-type serogroup B Neisseria meningitidis and a lipopolysaccharide-deficient mutant

Jeannette N. Williams, Paul J. Skipp, Holly E. Humphries, Myron Christodoulides, C. David O'Connor, John E. Heckels*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Citations (Scopus)


Current experimental vaccines against serogroup B Neisseria meningitidis are based on meningococcal outer membrane (OM) proteins present in outer membrane vesicles (OMV) in which toxic lipopolysaccharide is depleted by detergent extraction. Knowledge of the composition of OM and OMV is essential for developing new meningococcal vaccines based on defined antigens. In the current study, sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and nanocapillary liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry were used to investigate the proteomes of OM and OMV from meningococcal strain MC58 and OM from a lipopolysaccharide-deficient mutant. The analysis of OM revealed a composition that was much more complex than the composition that has been reported previously; a total of 236 proteins were identified, only 6.4% of which were predicted to be located in the outer membrane. The most abundant proteins included not only the well-established major OM proteins (PorA, PorB, Ope, Rmp, and Opa) but also other proteins, such as pilus-associated protein Q (PilQ) and a putative macrophage infectivity protein. All of these proteins were also present in OMV obtained by extraction of the OM with deoxycholate. There were markedly increased levels of some additional proteins in OM from the lipopolysaccharide-deficient mutant, including enzymes that contribute to the tricarboxylic acid cycle. In all the preparations, the proteins not predicted to have an OM location were predominantly periplasmic or cytoplasmic or had an unknown location, and relatively few cytoplasmic membrane proteins were detected. However, several proteins that have previously been identified as potential vaccine candidates were not detected in either OM preparations or in OMV. These results have important implications for the development and use of vaccines based on outer membrane proteins.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1364-1372
Number of pages9
JournalInfection and Immunity
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2007
Externally publishedYes


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