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Curr Microbiol. 2001 Jul;43(1):57-63.

The role of glycosaminoglycan binding of staphylococci in attachment to eukaryotic host cells.

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Department of Infectious Diseases and Medical Microbiology, University of Lund, Sölvegatan 23, S-223 62 Lund, Sweden.


Attachment of microorganisms to host cells is believed to be a critical early step in microbial pathogenesis. The aim of the study was to determine the role of the known glycosaminoglycan (GAG) binding activity of Staphylococcus aureus and coagulase-negative staphylococci (CoNS) in their attachment to six different eukaryotic cell lines. Three staphylococcal species expressing GAG binding capacity-S. aureus, S. epidermidis, and S. hemolyticus-were chosen for investigation. Six different eukaryotic cell lines, endothelial HUVEC and EA. hy 926 cells, epithelial A549 and HeLa S3 cells, fibroblasts HEL Sp 12 and macrophages J774.A1, were included. A modified ELISA with biotinylated bacteria was used for estimating the adhesion of staphylococci to each of the cell lines. Our results showed that staphylococci adhered to each of the cell lines studied, although the binding of CoNS strains to epithelial cells was lower than to the other cells. The attachment to all cell types could be partially decreased by pretreatment of the bacteria with various polysulfated agents (highest inhibition was 60%), as well as by chlorate and heparitinase treatment of the cells. These observations may suggest that at least one mode of staphylococcal attachment utilizes GAG chains present on the surface of virtually all adherent cells.

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