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The distribution of the hemoglobin receptor gene (hmbR) was investigated among disease and carriage Neisseria meningitidis isolates, revealing that the gene was detected at a significantly higher frequency among disease isolates than among carriage isolates. In isolates without hmbR, the locus was occupied by the cassettes exl2 or exl3 or by a "pseudo hmbR" gene, designated exl4. The hmbR locus exhibited characteristics of a pathogenicity island in published genomes of N. meningitidis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, and Neisseria lactamica sequence type-640. These data are consistent with a role for the hmbR gene in meningococcal disease.

Original publication




Conference paper

Publication Date





94 - 98


Bacterial Proteins, DNA Primers, Humans, Meningococcal Infections, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Neisseria lactamica, Neisseria meningitidis, Receptors, Cell Surface, Virulence