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Neisseria gonorrhoeae strains displaying reduced susceptibility and resistance to extended-spectrum cephalosporins (ESCs) are major public health concerns. Although resistance mechanisms of ESCs have extensively been studied, the proteome-wide investigation on the biological response to the antibiotic stress is still limited. Herein, a proteomics approach based on two-dimensional gel electrophoresis and MALDI-TOF/TOF-MS analysis was applied to investigate the global protein expression under ESC stresses of ESC-susceptible and ESC-reduced susceptible N. gonorrhoeae strains. Upon exposure to ceftriaxone, 14 and 21 proteins of ESC-susceptible and ESC-reduced susceptible strains, respectively, were shown to be differentially expressed. In the meanwhile, differential expressions of 13 and 17 proteins were detected under cefixime stress for ESC-susceptible and ESC-reduced susceptible strains, respectively. ESC antibiotics have been proven to trigger the expression of several proteins implicated in a variety of biological functions including transport system, energy metabolism, stress response and pathogenic virulence factors. Interestingly, macrophage infectivity potentiators (Ng-MIP) showed increased expression for ESC-reduced susceptible strain under ESC stress. The altered expression of Ng-MIP was found to be a unique response to ESC stresses. Our finding proposes a broad view on proteomic changes in N. gonorrhoeae in response to ESC antibiotics that provides further insights into the gonococcal antimicrobial resistance and physiological adaptation mechanism.
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