Characterizing host receptor recognition by individual bacterial pathogens

Methods Mol Biol. 2009:470:57-65. doi: 10.1007/978-1-59745-204-5_5.


A critical determinant of host range and specificity relies on the ability of pathogenic bacteria to recognize eukaryotic cell surface molecules via specialized adhesins. The specific adhesin-receptor interaction allows pathogens to tightly bind to their target cells, thereby facilitating the colonization of host tissues. Therefore, the identification and characterization of bacterial adhesins is a major topic in infection biology. This chapter focuses on a rapid and simple method for the analysis of adhesin-receptor interactions that permits the characterization of receptor binding properties at the level of single bacteria. Accordingly, this methodological approach is ideally suited for the analysis of adhesins expressed in a phase-variable manner and for the study of heterogeneous bacterial populations. Besides focusing on the receptor-binding assay, this chapter describes the production of fluorescence-tagged soluble host receptor domains required for conducting this assay.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adhesins, Bacterial / physiology
  • Antigens, CD / genetics
  • Antigens, CD / physiology
  • Bacteria / pathogenicity*
  • Bacteriological Techniques
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / genetics
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / physiology
  • Cell Line
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / genetics
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / metabolism
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Plasmids / genetics
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / metabolism


  • Adhesins, Bacterial
  • Antigens, CD
  • CD66 antigens
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins