August 2011

Document Type


Degree Name



Dept. of Microbiology and Immunology


Oregon Health & Science University


Over 300,000 cases of gonorrhea were recorded in 2009, making it the second most reported sexually transmitted infection in the U.S. However, the actual number of cases is likely much higher, as many gonorrhea infections are asymptomatic. The high incidence of asymptomatic infections indicates that Neisseria gonorrhoeae, the etiological cause of gonorrhea, can exist in the host undetected. The Neisseria genus also consists of several commensal species; bacteria that can infect their hosts without causing damage. Recent work has shown that N. gonorrhoeae evolved from the commensal Neisseria; this finding suggests that N. gonorrhoeae may have inherited traits from the commensals that help it establish asymptomatic infections. Indeed, N. gonorrhoeae possesses many strategies to minimize the host response to infection, including inhibiting apoptosis and downregulating the immune response. In this thesis, I demonstrate that N. gonorrhoeae represses production of pro-inflammatory cytokines




School of Medicine



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