Neisseria gonorrhoeae, the causative agent of the sexually transmitted infection gonorrhea, is a human-adapted pathogen that does not productively infect other organisms. The ongoing relationship between N. gonorrhoeae and the human host is facilitated by the exchange of nutrient resources that allow for N. gonorrhoeae growth in the human genital tract. What N. gonorrhoeae ‘eats' and the pathways used to consume these nutrients have been a topic of investigation over the last 50 years. More recent investigations are uncovering the impact of N. gonorrhoeae metabolism on infection and inflammatory responses, the environmental influences driving N. gonorrhoeae metabolism, and the metabolic adaptations enabling antimicrobial resistance. This mini-review is an introduction to the field of N. gonorrhoeae central carbon metabolism in the context of pathogenesis. It summarizes the foundational work used to characterize N. gonorrhoeae central metabolic pathways and the effects of these pathways on disease outcomes, and highlights some of the most recent advances and themes under current investigation. This review ends with a brief description of the current outlook and technologies under development to increase understanding of how the pathogenic potential of N. gonorrhoeae is enabled by metabolic adaptation.

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