Microaerobic denitrification in Neisseria meningitidis

J D Rock, J W B Moir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The major aetiological agent of human bacterial meningitis is Neisseria meningitidis. During the course of disease and host colonization, the bacterium has to withstand limited oxygen availability. Nitrogen oxide and nitrogen oxyanions are thought to be present, which may constitute an alternative sink for electrons from the N. meningitidis respiratory chain. A partial denitrification pathway is encoded by the aniA nitrite reductase gene and the norB nitric oxide reductase gene. Analysis of the completed genome sequences of two N. meningitidis strains is used to generate a model for the membrane-associated respiratory chain of this organism. Analysis of aniA expression indicates it to be controlled primarily by oxygen and secondarily by nitrite. The ability of N. meningitidis to denitrify relies on microaerobic growth conditions. Here we show that under microaerobic conditions nitrite supplements oxygen as an alternative respiratory substrate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-136
Number of pages3
JournalBiochemical Society transactions
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2005


  • denitrification
  • microaerophily
  • Neisseria meningitidis
  • regulation
  • respiratory chain

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