Effect of Lewis blood group antigen expression on bacterial adherence to COS-1 cells

R. A. Gaffney, A. J. Schaeffer, B. E. Anderson, J. L. Duncan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Epithelial cells from secretor individuals demonstrate decreased bacterial adherence compared with cells from nonsecretors. Lewis blood group antigen expression is one component of the secretor/nonsecretor phenotype and several epidemiologic studies have suggested a link between Lewis blood group antigen phenotype and susceptibility to urinary tract infections. In this study, we examined the possibility that the expression of the difucosylated Lewis blood group determinants. Leb and Le(y) (associated with the secretor phenotype), made cells less susceptible to Escherichia coli adherence by masking receptors for pili. COS-1 cells, which do not produce Lewis (Lea, Leb, Le(x), and Le(y)) blood group antigens, were used as target cells for bacterial adherence. The surface blood group antigen expression pattern of the cells was then modified by cotransfection with plasmids containing DNA inserts encoding α(1,2)-fucosyltransferase and α(1,3)- and α(1,4)- fucosyltransferases, resulting in the expression of Leb and Le(y). E. coli HB101 expressing various adhesins (type 1, Pap196, Pap(1A2), Pap(ad110), Prs, and S) from recombinant plasmids bound equally well to untransfected cells and transfected cells expressing Lea and Le(x) (nonsecretor phenotype) and Leb and Le(y) (secretor phenotype) antigens. We conclude that the presence of Leb and Le(y) antigens on cells from secretors does not alone mask receptors for E. coli pili or hinder bacterial adherence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3022-3026
Number of pages5
JournalInfection and immunity
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases

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