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FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol. 1999 May;24(1):105-14.

Tissue culture adherence and haemagglutination characteristics of Moraxella (Branhamella) catarrhalis.

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1
Department of Biological Sciences, Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland.

Abstract

The haemagglutination and tissue culture adherence properties of 20 isolates of Moraxella catarrhalis obtained from the sputum of elderly patients with lower respiratory tract infections were compared with those of 20 isolates of M. catarrhalis obtained from the nasopharynx of elderly persons colonised by the organism. Eighty percent of isolates from the infected group as opposed to 5% of isolates from the colonised group haemagglutinated human erythrocytes (P < 0.001), indicating that the haemagglutinin might be a marker of pathogenicity for M. catarrhalis. There was a significant difference in the adherence to HEp-2 cells of isolates from the infected group in comparison to isolates from the colonised group (P = 0.03). Haemagglutination and tissue culture adherence properties were unrelated, indicating that separate adhesin systems are involved. The adherence of M. catarrhalis to HEp-2 cells was unaffected following pronase and trypsin treatment, however, sodium periodate pre-treatment of the bacteria significantly reduced the tissue culture adherence index, indicating that the adhesin by which the bacteria bind to HEp-2 cells may have a carbohydrate moiety. Transmission electron microscopy studies revealed that adherence of M. catarrhalis to HEp-2 cells was mediated by trypsin-resistant 'tack-/spicule-like' structures protruding from the surface of the bacteria.

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