Bacterial Lectins as Adhesins

  • Itzhak Ofek
  • Ronald J. Doyle


In 1977, Ofek et al. suggested that proteins with lectin-like properties on bacterial surfaces could serve as adhesins that bind the organisms to animal cells. It was found that E. coli, bearing type 1 fimbriae specific for mannose, could agglutinate red cells. The adhesins of many pathogenic bacteria are now thought to be carbohydrate-binding proteins, possibly lectins (Table 5–1). Although some members of the genera Staphylococcus and Streptococcus appear to express adhesins that lack lectin activity, other members of the same genera are known to possess surface lectins with adhesin functions. Lectins that serve as adhesins may be associated with the cell wall, the outer membrane, or with fimbrial structures. More detailed information on the molecular biology of these lectins is provided in Chapter 9. In this chapter information is presented concerning the occurrence and specificities of some bacterial surface lectins and their role in infection. Many bacterial lectins have not yet been defined as adhesins. A comprehensive review of bacterial lectins is found in the book edited by Mirelman (1986).


Sialic Acid Neisseria Gonorrhoeae Mycoplasma Pneumoniae Baby Hamster Kidney Cell Carbohydrate Specificity 
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Copyright information

© Chapman & Hall, Inc. 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Itzhak Ofek
    • 1
  • Ronald J. Doyle
    • 2
  1. 1.Tel-AvivIsrael
  2. 2.LouisvilleUSA

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