• Trascriptome analysis and functional genomics of Neisseria meningitidis in human blood
  • Del Tordello, Elena <1983>


  • BIO/11 Biologia molecolare


  • Neisseria meningitidis (Nm) is the major cause of septicemia and meningococcal meningitis. During the course of infection, it must adapt to different host environments as a crucial factor for survival. Despite the severity of meningococcal sepsis, little is known about how Nm adapts to permit survival and growth in human blood. A previous time-course transcriptome analysis, using an ex vivo model of human whole blood infection, showed that Nm alters the expression of nearly 30% of ORFs of the genome: major dynamic changes were observed in the expression of transcriptional regulators, transport and binding proteins, energy metabolism, and surface-exposed virulence factors. Starting from these data, mutagenesis studies of a subset of up-regulated genes were performed and the mutants were tested for the ability to survive in human whole blood; Nm mutant strains lacking the genes encoding NMB1483, NalP, Mip, NspA, Fur, TbpB, and LctP were sensitive to killing by human blood. Then, the analysis was extended to the whole Nm transcriptome in human blood, using a customized 60-mer oligonucleotide tiling microarray. The application of specifically developed software combined with this new tiling array allowed the identification of different types of regulated transcripts: small intergenic RNAs, antisense RNAs, 5’ and 3’ untranslated regions and operons. The expression of these RNA molecules was confirmed by 5’-3’RACE protocol and specific RT-PCR. Here we describe the complete transcriptome of Nm during incubation in human blood; we were able to identify new proteins important for survival in human blood and also to identify additional roles of previously known virulence factors in aiding survival in blood. In addition the tiling array analysis demonstrated that Nm expresses a set of new transcripts, not previously identified, and suggests the presence of a circuit of regulatory RNA elements used by Nm to adapt to proliferate in human blood.


  • 2012-04-27


  • Doctoral Thesis
  • PeerReviewed


  • application/pdf



Del Tordello, Elena (2012) Trascriptome analysis and functional genomics of Neisseria meningitidis in human blood , [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Biologia cellulare, molecolare e industriale/cellular, molecular and industrial biology: progetto n. 2 Biologia funzionale dei sistemi cellulari e molecolari , 24 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/4819.