1887

Abstract

colonization of the respiratory tract is an essential precursor for pneumococcal disease. To colonize efficiently, bacteria must adhere to the epithelial-cell surface. possesses surface-associated exoglycosidases that are capable of sequentially deglycosylating human glycans. Two exoglycosidases, neuraminidase (NanA) and β-galactosidase (BgaA), have previously been shown to contribute to adherence to human epithelial cells, as deletion of either of these genes results in reduced adherence. It has been suggested that these enzymes may modulate adherence by cleaving sugars to reveal a receptor on host cells. Pretreatment of epithelial cells with exogenous neuraminidase restores the adherence of a mutant, whereas pretreatment with β-galactosidase does not restore the adherence of a mutant. These data suggest that BgaA may not function to reveal a receptor, and implicate an alternative role for BgaA in adherence. Here we demonstrate that β-galactosidase activity is not required for BgaA-mediated adherence. Addition of recombinant BgaA (rBgaA) to adherence assays and pretreatment of epithelial cells with rBgaA both significantly reduced the level of adherence of the parental strain, but not the BgaA mutant. One possible explanation of these data is that BgaA is acting as an adhesin and that rBgaA is binding to the receptor, preventing bacterial binding. A bead-binding assay demonstrated that BgaA can bind directly to human epithelial cells, supporting the hypothesis that BgaA is an adhesin. Preliminary characterization of the epithelial-cell receptor suggests that it is a glycan in the context of a glycosphingolipid. To further establish the relevance of this adherence mechanism, we demonstrated that BgaA-mediated adherence contributed to adherence of a recent clinical isolate to primary human epithelial cells. Together, these data suggest a novel role for BgaA as an adhesin and suggest that this mechanism could contribute to adherence of at least some pneumococcal strains .

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2011-08-01
2019-11-15
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