Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Gonorrhea infections start from exposure to seminal fluid

Date:
March 4, 2014
Source:
American Society for Microbiology
Summary:
Researchers have come a step closer to understanding how gonorrhea infections are transmitted. When Neisseria gonorrhoeae, the bacteria responsible for gonorrhea, are exposed to seminal plasma, the liquid part of semen containing secretions from the male genital tract, they can more easily move and start to colonize. Additional tests found that exposure to seminal plasma also enhanced the formation of bacterial microcolonies on human epithelial cells (cells that line body cavities), which can also promote the establishment of infection.

Researchers have come a step closer to understanding how gonorrhea infections are transmitted. When Neisseria gonorrhoeae, the bacteria responsible for gonorrhea, are exposed to seminal plasma, the liquid part of semen containing secretions from the male genital tract, they can more easily move and start to colonize. The research, led by investigators at Northwestern University in Chicago, appears in mBio, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

"Our study illustrates an aspect of biology that was previously unknown," says lead study author Mark Anderson. "If seminal fluid facilitates motility, it could help transmit gonorrhea from person to person."

Gonorrhea, a sexually transmitted infection, is exclusive to humans and thrives in warm, moist areas of the reproductive tract, including the cervix, uterus, and fallopian tubes in women, and in the urethra in women and men. It is estimated there are more than 100 million new cases of gonorrhea annually worldwide.

"Research characterizing the mechanisms of pathogenesis and transmission of N. gonorrhoeae is important for developing new prevention strategies, since antibiotic resistance of the organism is becoming increasingly prevalent," says H. Steven Seifert, another author on the study.

In a series of laboratory experiments, the investigators studied the ability of N. gonorrhoeae to move through a synthetic barrier, finding that 24 times as many bacteria could pass through after being exposed to seminal plasma. Exposure to seminal plasma caused hairlike appendages on the bacteria surface, called pili, to move the cells by a process known as twitching motility. This stimulatory effect could be seen even at low concentrations of seminal plasma and beyond the initial influx of seminal fluid.

Additional tests found that exposure to seminal plasma also enhanced the formation of bacterial microcolonies on human epithelial cells (cells that line body cavities), which can also promote the establishment of infection.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Microbiology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. M. T. Anderson, L. Dewenter, B. Maier, H. S. Seifert. Seminal Plasma Initiates a Neisseria gonorrhoeae Transmission State. mBio, 2014; 5 (2): e01004-13 DOI: 10.1128/mBio.01004-13

Cite This Page:

American Society for Microbiology. "Gonorrhea infections start from exposure to seminal fluid." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140304071530.htm>.
American Society for Microbiology. (2014, March 4). Gonorrhea infections start from exposure to seminal fluid. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140304071530.htm
American Society for Microbiology. "Gonorrhea infections start from exposure to seminal fluid." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140304071530.htm (accessed September 18, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Artificial Sweetener Could Promote Diabetes

Artificial Sweetener Could Promote Diabetes

Newsy (Sep. 17, 2014) Doctors once thought artificial sweeteners lacked the health risks of sugar, but a new study says they can impact blood sugar levels the same way. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Vaccine Trial Gets Underway at Oxford University

Ebola Vaccine Trial Gets Underway at Oxford University

AFP (Sep. 17, 2014) A healthy British volunteer is to become the first person to receive a new vaccine for the Ebola virus after US President Barack Obama called for action against the epidemic and warned it was "spiralling out of control." Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obesity Rates Steady Even As Americans' Waistlines Expand

Obesity Rates Steady Even As Americans' Waistlines Expand

Newsy (Sep. 17, 2014) Researchers are puzzled as to why obesity rates remain relatively stable as average waistlines continue to expand. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) President Obama is expected to send 3,000 troops to West Africa as part of the effort to contain Ebola's spread. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins