SUMMARY. The adherence of to the surface of HeLa cells at 4°C was studied. This temperature allows adhesion of bacteria but prevents engulfment. Adhesion between the bacteria and the cells was not dependent upon the presence of serum, Ca or Mg in the medium. Maximum adhesion was obtained at pH 6.5-7.9 and pretreatment of the cells with formaldehyde or glutaraldehyde inhibited the attachment of the bacteria. The interaction between the bacteria and the cell surface seems to involve cellular processes that are mostly microvilli. An intimate association between the bacteria and the cellular glycocalyx was found. Three virulent bacterial strains adhered more easily to the cell surface than five avirulent strains. Maximum adherence was obtained with bacteria from late logarithmic and early stationary phases of growth. The bacteria gradually lose their adhesive property when cultivated for several generations at 37°C in nutrient broth but not when cultivated at 20°C. Treatment of the bacteria with protease IV from markedly reduced the efficiency of attachment.


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