Summary: Iron-uptake mutants of strain 340 were obtained following treatment with streptonigrin, and one such mutant (Fud14) was characterized. strain Fud14 was unable to grow with human transferrin or haemoglobin as the sole source of iron, but grew normally with heat-inactivated normal human serum or haemin. Internalization of Fe from transferrin by strain Fud14 was only 25% of the parent level. Strain Fud14 (≤1 × 10 c.f.u.) did not grow in subcutaneous chambers implanted in mice, whereas the parent strain was infective at an ID of 4.3 × 10 c.f.u. Supplementation of chambers with either normal human serum or haemin resulted in the establishment of strain Fud14 for at least 240 h post-inoculation. Electroporation of Fud14 with wild-type DNA and selection for growth on medium containing human transferrin resulted in a recombinant (Fud15) that was capable of utilizing haemoglobin, and was virulent in mice. These results suggest that a gonococcal strain defective in the ability to utilize iron sources is not capable of survival .


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