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J Biol Chem. 2003 Sep 26;278(39):37987-97. Epub 2003 Jul 7.

Structurally distinct requirements for binding of P-selectin glycoprotein ligand-1 and sialyl Lewis x to Anaplasma phagocytophilum and P-selectin.

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Cardiovascular Biology Research Program, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73104, USA.


Colonization of neutrophils by the bacterium Anaplasma phagocytophilum causes the disease human granulocytic ehrlichiosis. The pathogen also infects mice, its natural host. Like binding of P-selectin, binding of A. phagocytophilum to human neutrophils requires expression of P-selectin glycoprotein ligand-1 (PSGL-1) and alpha1-3-fucosyltransferases that construct the glycan determinant sialyl Lewis x (sLex). Binding of A. phagocytophilum to murine neutrophils, however, requires expression of alpha1-3-fucosyltransferases but not PSGL-1. To further characterize the molecular features that A. phagocytophilum recognizes, we measured bacterial binding to microspheres bearing specific glycoconjugates or to cells expressing human PSGL-1 and particular glycosyltransferases. Like P-selectin, A. phagocytophilum bound to purified human PSGL-1 and to glycopeptides modeled after the N terminus of human PSGL-1 that presented sLex on an O-glycan. Unlike P-selectin, A. phagocytophilum bound to glycopeptides that contained sLex but lacked tyrosine sulfation or a specific core-2 orientation of sLex on the O-glycan. A. phagocytophilum bound only to glycopeptides that contained a short amino acid sequence found in the N-terminal region of human but not murine PSGL-1. Unlike P-selectin, A. phagocytophilum bound to cells expressing PSGL-1 in cooperation with sLex on both N-and O-glycans. Moreover, bacteria bound to microspheres coupled independently with glycopeptide lacking sLex and with sLex lacking peptide. These results demonstrate that, unlike P-selectin, A. phagocytophilum binds cooperatively to a nonsulfated N-terminal peptide in human PSGL-1 and to sLex expressed on PSGL-1 or other glycoproteins. Distinct bacterial adhesins may mediate these cooperative interactions.

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