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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2000 Apr 1;185(1):17-22.

Identification of a 36-kDa fibronectin-binding protein expressed by a virulent variant of Leptospira interrogans serovar icterohaemorrhagiae.

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Leptospira Laboratory, Institut Pasteur de Nouvelle-Calédonie, P.O. Box 61, 98845, Nouméa, New Caledonia.


We investigated the ability of a virulent strain of Leptospira interrogans serovar icterohaemorrhagiae, its isogenic avirulent variant and a saprophytic strain to bind fibronectin using alkaline phosphatase-labelled fibronectin. A single 36-kDa fibronectin-binding protein was expressed only by the virulent strain and was located in the outer sheath according to proteinase K treatment results. The interaction of this protein with fibronectin was specific and the region of fibronectin bound to this potential adhesin overlapped the gelatin-binding domain. The inability of a RGDS synthetic peptide to inhibit the binding of fibronectin indicated that the cell-binding domain was not involved in this interaction. Considering the wide distribution of fibronectin within a host and the diversity of mammals involved in the epidemiology of leptospirosis, its implication in the cell attachment process of virulent leptospires is coherent with the multiplicity of target cells.

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