Staphylococcus aureus binding to human nasal mucin

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108 Scopus citations


Colonization of human nasal mucosa with Staphylococcus aureus sets the stage for subsequent systemic infection. This study characterizes S. aureus adhesion in nasal mucosa in vitro and investigates the interaction of S. aureus with human nasal mucin. S. aureus binding to cell-associated and cell- free mucus was greater than to nonmucin-coated epithelial cells. Scanning electron microscopy of S. aureus incubated with human nasal mucosal tissue showed minimal binding to ciliated respiratory epithelium. In a solid-phase assay, S. aureus bound to purified human nasal mucin-coated wells significantly more than to bovine serum albumin-coated microtiter wells. Binding to mucin was saturable in a dose- and time-dependent fashion. Staphylococcal adherence to human nasal mucin was inhibited by bovine submaxillary, mucin but not by fibrinogen. Pretreatment of mucin with periodate but not with pronase reduced adherence. Trypsin treatment of the bacteria significantly reduced adherence to mucin. 125I-labelled nasal mucin bound to two surface proteins (138 and 127 kDa) of lysostaphin- solubilized S. aureus. Binding to human nasal mucin occurs in part via specific adhesion-receptor interactions involving bacterial proteins and the carbohydrate moiety in mucin. These experiments suggest that S. aureus binding to mucin may he critical for colonization of the nasopharyngeal mucosa.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)310-318
Number of pages9
JournalInfection and immunity
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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