A Periplasmic Thioredoxin-Like Protein Plays a Role in Defense against Oxidative Stress in Neisseria gonorrhoeae Academic Article uri icon


  • ABSTRACT Thioredoxin-like proteins of the TlpA/ResE/CcmG subfamily are known to face the periplasm in gram-negative bacteria. Using the tlpA gene of Bradyrhizobium japonicum as a query, we identified a locus (NGO1923) in Neisseria gonorrhoeae that encodes a thioredoxin-like protein (NG_TlpA). Bioinformatics analysis indicated that the predicted NG_TlpA protein contained a cleavable signal peptide at the N terminus, and secondary structure analysis identified a thioredoxin fold with a helical insertion (∼25 residues), similar to that found in B. japonicum TlpA but absent in cytoplasmic thioredoxins. Biochemical characterization of a recombinant form of NG_TlpA revealed a standard redox potential (E0′) of −206 mV. This property and the observation that the oxidized form of the protein exhibited greater thermal stability than the reduced species indicated that NG_TlpA is a reducing thioredoxin and not an oxidizing thiol-disulfide oxidoreductase like DsbA. The thioredoxin activity of NG_TlpA was confirmed in an insulin disulfide reduction assay. A tlpA mutant of N. gonorrhoeae strain 1291 was found to be highly sensitive to oxidative killing by paraquat and hydrogen peroxide, indicating an antioxidant role for the NG_TlpA in this bacterium. The tlpA mutant also exhibited reduced intracellular survival in human primary cervical epithelial cells.


  • Achard, Maud ES
  • Hamilton, Amanda J
  • Dankowski, Tarek
  • Heras, Begoña
  • Schembri, Mark S
  • Edwards, Jennifer L
  • Jennings, Michael P
  • McEwan, Alastair G

publication date

  • November 2009