Spontaneous point mutations in the capsule synthesis locus leading to structural and functional changes of the capsule in serogroup A meningococcal populations

Emma Ispasanie, Francesca Micoli, Araceli Lamelas, Dominique Keller, Francesco Berti, Riccardo De Ricco, Roberta Di Benedetto, Simona Rondini & Gerd Pluschke
Whole genome sequencing analysis of 100 Neisseria meningitidis serogroup A isolates has revealed that the csaABCD-ctrABCD-ctrEF capsule polysaccharide synthesis locus represents a spontaneous point mutation hotspot. Structural and functional properties of the capsule of 11 carriage and two disease isolates with non-synonymous point mutations or stop codons in capsule synthesis genes were analyzed for their capsular polysaccharide expression, recognition by antibodies and sensitivity to bactericidal killing. Eight of eleven carriage isolates presenting capsule locus mutations...
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