Using both solid phase and liposome aggregation assays, we screened a variety of glycolipids and phospholipids and found that EHEC and EPEC bind specifically and in a dose-dependent manner to PE. This binding was consistently observed whether the lipid was immobilized on a thin layer chromatography plate, in a microtitre well or incorporated into a unilamellar vesicle suspended in aqueous solution. There was no evidence of binding to other phospholipids such as phosphatidylcholine (PC) or phosphatidylserine (PS). Bacterial binding to two epithelial cell lines also correlated with the level of outer leaflet PE and was reduced following preincubation with anti-PE. The PE-binding phenotype of EPEC appeared to correlate with the bundle-forming pilus (bfp) genotype of a number of clinical isolates. These results provide evidence of a receptor role for PE in the adhesion of EHEC and EPEC to host cells.
Copyright 1999 Academic Press.