H8

Iron-binding proteins

Major OMP Major OMP

Reduction modified protein Heat-modifiable protein Pili

LPS/LOS

Capsular polysaccharide

Lipoprotein Variable OMP Variable OMP Various OMPs

Porin Porin

Site for blocking antibody

Attachment

Attachment

Toxic to epithelial cells Associated with invasive disease Not known Attachment Efflux pump Iron acquisition

OMP, outer membrane protein.

of N. meningitidis have been subdivided into 13 serogroups by the difference in the composition of the capsular polysaccharide. The most prevalent serogroups in disease are A, B, C, W-135 and Y. Meningococci can be further divided into serotypes based on the antigenic specificity of the outer membrane proteins, which is independent of the sero-group. Commensal meningococci are invariably nonencapsulated and piliated, whereas invasive meningococci are encapsulated and nonpiliated; phase variation of these antigens occurs, and may allow switching between phenotypes.

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