Binding of type 1-piliated Escherichia coli to vaginal mucus

M. F. Venegas, E. L. Navas, R. A. Gaffney, J. L. Duncan, B. E. Anderson*, A. J. Schaeffer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


To better understand the interactions involved in bacterial adherence and the role of mucus in the pathogenesis of urinary tract infectious, we developed a system to study the binding of a recombinant Escherichia coil strain, HB101/pWRS1-17, expressing type 1 pili, to vaginal mucus collected from 28 women. Bacteria bound to differing extents to all specimens examined, and preincubation of bacteria with mannose inhibited binding by 50 to 89%. Additionally, all mucus samples showed reactivity with anti-mannose antibody, and the levels of reactivity correlated with the levels of bacterial binding, suggesting that the mannose-terminal saccharides present on these glycoproteins are the receptors for the binding of type 1-piliated bacteria. Mucus specimens collected over periods of 5 days and 12 weeks exhibited significant variation in bacterial binding, indicating temporal differences in the ability of vaginal mucus to act as a receptor for type 1-piliated E. coli. The results show that vaginal mucus can bind bacteria and may thus influence the initial attachment and subsequent colonization of the vaginal and urinary tract epithelium by E. coli.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)416-422
Number of pages7
JournalInfection and immunity
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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