Neisseria gonorrhoeae and neisseria meningitidis: extracellular enzyme cleaves human immunoglobulin A

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Science  12 Dec 1975:
Vol. 190, Issue 4219, pp. 1103-1105
DOI: 10.1126/science.810892


The gonococcus and meningococcus, which infect human mucosal surfaces, elaborate a highly specific proteolytic enzyme which cleaves the immunoglobulin A1 subclass of the principal mucosal antibody, immunoglobulin A (IgA). The susceptible Pro-Thr bond lies in a unique region of the IgA heavy chain; the IgA2 subclass, lacking this peptide bond, is enzyme resistant.