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Infect Immun. 2000 Jul;68(7):3894-9.

The lipopolysaccharide structures of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium and Neisseria gonorrhoeae determine the attachment of human mannose-binding lectin to intact organisms.

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Immunobiology Unit, Institute of Child Health, London WC1N 1EH, United Kingdom.


Mannose-binding lectin (MBL) is an important component of the innate immune system. It binds to the arrays of sugars commonly presented by microorganisms and activates the complement system independently of antibody. Despite detailed knowledge of the stereochemical basis of MBL binding, relatively little is known about how bacterial surface structures influence binding of the lectin. Using flow cytometry, we have measured the binding of MBL to a range of mutants of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium and Neisseria gonorrhoeae which differ in the structure of expressed lipopolysaccharide (LPS). For both organisms, the possession of core LPS structures led to avid binding of MBL, which was abrogated by the addition of O antigen (Salmonella serovar Typhimurium) or sialic acid (N. gonorrhoeae). Truncation of the LPS within the core led to lower levels of MBL binding. It was not possible to predict the magnitude of MBL binding from the identity of the LPS terminal sugar alone, indicating that the three-dimensional disposition of LPS molecules is probably also of importance in determining MBL attachment. These results further support the hypothesis that LPS structure is a major determinant of MBL binding.

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