Role of cellular lipoteichoic acids in mediating adherence of serotype III strains of group B streptococci to human embryonic, fetal, and adult epithelial cells

T. J. Nealon, S. J. Mattingly

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46 Scopus citations

Abstract

Lipoteichoic acids (LTA) of serotype III strains of group B streptococci (GBS) were shown to mediate adherence of these organisms to human embryonic (HEC), fetal (HFC), and adult buccal (HBEC) epithelial cells. The binding of GBS was temperature dependent, and maximum attachment occurred at 37°C. HEC, HFC, and HBEC preincubated with purified LTA significantly inhibited attachment of GBS, whereas the group B and type III antigens had no effect. Under phosphate-limiting conditions in which cell-associated LTA could not be detected in these organisms, bacterial adherence did not take place. GBS (virulent) that were isolated from infected infants and previously shown to have significantly higher quantities of cell-associated LTA in comparison to GBS strains from asymptomatically colonized infants adhered with greater binding activity to HEC and HFC and in greater numbers than to HBEC. It was determined that the mechanism of LTA-mediated adherence of GBS to HBEC differed from adherence to embryonic and fetal cells for both virulent and asymptomatic GBS strains bound to HBEC in a similar manner, enhanced by the lipid portion of the LTA. In contrast, the binding of GBS to HEC and HFC was mediated by hydrophobic as well as specific interactions due to the glycerolphosphate polymer of LTA. These results indicate that possible receptor sites for LTA present on cells in prenatal stages of development may differ from those of adult cells, which may result in increased susceptibility of newborn infants to group B streptococcal disease. The implications of LTA-mediated adherence of GBS and their possible role as virulence factors are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)523-530
Number of pages8
JournalInfection and immunity
Volume43
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1984

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases

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