Query: NC_017517:1377617 Neisseria meningitidis M01-240355 chromosome, complete genome Lineage: Neisseria meningitidis; Neisseria; Neisseriaceae; Neisseriales; Proteobacteria; Bacteria General Information: The second of two pathogenic Neisseria, this organism causes septicemia and is the leading cause of life-threatening meningitis (inflammation of the meninges, the membrane surrounding the brain and spinal cord) in children. This organism typically residies in the nasopharynx cavity but can invade the respiratory epthelial barrier, cross into the bloodstream and the blood brain barrier, and cause inflammation of the meninges. Pathogenicity factors include the surface proteins (porins and opacity proteins), and the type IV pilus (which is also found in Neisseria gonorrhoeae). This organism, like Neisseria gonorrhoeae, is naturally competent, and protein complexes at the cell surface recognize the uptake signal sequence in extracellular DNA, an 8mer that is found at high frequency in Neisseria chromosomal DNA.
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General Information: This organism was first isolated from the soil in Vineland, New Jersey, although it is found worldwide. It is a large obligate aerobe that has one of the highest respiratory rates of any organism. Azotobacter vinelandii also produces a number of unusual nitrogenases which allow it to fix atmospheric nitrogen to ammonia, a compound it can then use as a nitrogen source. It protects the oxygen-sensitive nitrogenase enzymes through its high respiratory rate, which sequesters the nitrogenase complexes in an anoxic environment. This organism has a number of unusual characteristics. Under extreme environmental conditions, the cell will produce a cyst that is resistant to dessication and is surrounded by two capsular polysaccharide layers. This organism produces two industrially important polysaccharides, poly-beta-hydroxybutyrate (PHB) and alginate. PHB is a thermoplastic biopolymer, and alginate is used in the food industry. Alginate is also used by the pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa to infect the lungs of cystic fibrosis patients.