PLoS neglected tropical diseases

Evaluation of cell binding activities of Leptospira ECM adhesins.

PMID 25875373


Pathogenic spirochetes of the genus Leptospira are the causative agents of leptospirosis, a zoonotic infection that occurs globally. The bacteria colonize the renal proximal tubules of many animals and are shed in the urine. Contact with the urine, or with water contaminated with the urine of infected animals can cause infection of new host animals, including humans. Mechanisms of colonization of the proximal tubule and other tissues are not known, but specific interactions between bacterial adhesins and host substrates are likely to be critical in this process. Several extracellular matrix (ECM) adhesins have been previously identified, but more recently, it has been shown that Leptospira bind more efficiently to cells than ECM. In this work, recombinant forms of five putative Leptospira ECM adhesins, namely LipL32, Loa22, OmpL1, p31/LipL45, and LenA were evaluated for binding to cells as well as an expanded variety of ECM components. Reproducible and significant adhesin activity was demonstrated only for OmpL1, which bound to both mammalian cell lines tested and to glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). While determination of biologically significant bacterial adhesion activity will require generation of site-directed mutant strains, our results suggest that OmpL1 is a strong candidate for future evaluation regarding the roles of the adhesin activity of the protein during L. interrogans infection.