f Glycosaminoglycan-binding microbial proteins in tissue adhesion and invasion: key events in microbial pathogenicity
- Authors: TORKEL WADSTROM, ÅSA LJUNGH
- Corresponding author: Professor T. Wadström.
- First Published Online: 01 March 1999, Journal of Medical Microbiology 48: 223-233, doi: 10.1099/00222615-48-3-223
- Subject: Review Article
- Issue Published:
Glycosaminoglycans such as heparin, heparan sulphate and dermatan sulphate, are distributed widely in the human body. Several glycosaminoglycans form part of the extracellular matrix and heparan sulphate is expressed on all eukaryotic surfaces. The identification of specific binding to different glycosaminoglycan molecules by bacteria (e.g., Helicobacter pylori, Bordetella pertussis and Chlamydia trachomatis), viruses (e.g., herpes simplex and dengue virus), and protozoa (e.g., Plasmodium and Leishmania), is therefore of great interest. Expression of glycosaminoglycan-binding proteins depends on growth and culture conditions in bacteria, and differs in various phases of parasite development. Glycosaminoglycan-binding microbial proteins may mediate adhesion of microbes to eukaryotic cells, which may be a primary mechanism in mucosal infections, and are also involved in secondary effects such as adhesion to cerebral endothelia in cerebral malaria or to synovial membranes in arthritis caused by Borrelia burgdorferi. It has been suggested that they may enhance intracellular survival in macrophages. Microbial binding of heparin may interfere with heparin-dependent growth factors. Whether or not glycosaminoglycan-binding proteins mediate invasion of epithelial cells is a matter of controversy. Heparin and other glycosaminoglycans may have potential uses as therapeutic agents in microbial infections and could form part of future vaccines against such infections.
© 1999 The Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland | Published by the Microbiology Society
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