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Adv Exp Med Biol. 2011;715:51-70. doi: 10.1007/978-94-007-0940-9_4.

Adhesins of Bartonella spp.

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  • 1Institut für Medizinische Mikrobiologie und Krankenhaushygiene, Universitätsklinikum, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.


Adhesion to host cells represents the first step in the infection process and one of the decisive features in the pathogenicity of Bartonella spp. B. henselae and B. quintana are considered to be the most important human pathogenic species, responsible for cat scratch disease, bacillary angiomatosis, trench fever and other diseases. The ability to cause vasculoproliferative disorders and intraerythrocytic bacteraemia are unique features of the genus Bartonella. Consequently, the interaction with endothelial cells and erythrocytes is a focus in Bartonella research. The genus harbours a variety of trimeric autotransporter adhesins (TAAs) such as the Bartonella adhesin A (BadA) of B. henselae and the variably expressed outer-membrane proteins (Vomps) of B. quintana, which display remarkable variations in length and modular construction. These adhesins mediate many of the biologically-important properties of Bartonella spp. such as adherence to endothelial cells and extracellular matrix proteins and induction of angiogenic gene programming. There is also significant evidence that the laterally acquired Trw-conjugation systems of Bartonella spp. mediate host-specific adherence to erythrocytes. Other potential adhesins are the filamentous haemagglutinins and several outer membrane proteins. The exact molecular functions of these adhesins and their interplay with other pathogenicity factors (e.g., the VirB/D4 type 4 secretion system) need to be analysed in detail to understand how these pathogens adapt to their mammalian hosts.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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