Binding of staphylococci to mucus in vivo and in vitro

B. A. Sanford, V. L. Thomas, M. A. Ramsay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


The association of Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus epidermidis, and Staphylococcus saprophyticus with tissues of the upper respiratory tract were compared by using an in vivo ferret model. Ferrets were challenged intranasally with a 1-ml volume of radiolabeled staphylococci (3 mg [dry weight]), were allowed to clear the bacteria in vivo for 90 min, and were sacrificed. Tissues from the right nasal fossa were harvested and processed for radioassay or histology. Of the recoverable staphylococci, ≥96% was associated with mucus gel overlaying mucosa of the turbinates. A quantitative radioassay was developed to study the binding of labeled staphylococci to immobilized crude ferret nasal mucin (FM) and bovine submaxillary gland mucin (BM). Binding showed saturation kinetics and was blocked specifically by BM but not by human Tamm-Horsfall glycoprotein nor orosomucoid. Binding to both FM and BM was significantly inhibited (P ≤ 0.01) when cocci were pretreated with trypsin but not when treated with β-galactosidase or sodium metaperiodate (except for binding of S. saprophyticus to FM). These results suggest that mucin-binding receptors of the cocci may have protein components. The staphylococcus-binding receptors of both FM and BM appear to contain protein components, based on sensitivity to pretreatment with trypsin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3735-3742
Number of pages8
JournalInfection and immunity
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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