Author(s): Isaacs RD
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Abstract Borrelia burgdorferi adhere to mammalian cells in vitro but neither the ligand(s) nor the receptor(s) has (have) been clearly established. Using an in vitro attachment-inhibition assay, a B. burgdorferi attachment mechanism has been identified. Heparin, heparan sulfate, and dermatan sulfate reduced the attachment of virulent B. burgdorferi strain 297 to HeLa cells by approximately 60\%. In addition, virulent, but not avirulent, B. burgdorferi strains B31, N40, and HB19 demonstrated heparin attachment-inhibition. Attachment to Chinese hamster ovary cells deficient in heparan sulfate proteoglycans was reduced by 68\% compared to attachment to wild-type cells and was identical to attachment at maximum heparin inhibition to the wild-type cells. Pretreatment of HeLa cell monolayers with heparitinase, heparinase, and chondroitinase ABC, but not with chondroitinase AC, reduced borrelial attachment by approximately 50\%. A moderately high affinity, low copy number, promiscuous B. burgdorferi glycosaminoglycan receptor was demonstrated by equilibrium binding studies. A 39-kD polypeptide, purified by heparin affinity chromatography from Triton X-100 extracts derived from virulent borrelia, was a candidate for this receptor. These studies indicate that one mode of B. burgdorferi attachment to eukaryotic cells is mediated by a borrelial glycosaminoglycan receptor attaching to surface-exposed proteoglycans on mammalian cells.
This article was published in J Clin Invest
and referenced in Journal of Medical Microbiology & Diagnosis