Borrelia burgdorferi Bind to Epithelial Cell Proteoglycans

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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. (J. Clin. Invest. 1994. 93:809-819.) Key words: bacterial adherence. Borrelia burgdorferi. glycosaminoglycans. Lyme borreliosis. proteoglycans

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