Group B streptococci adhere to a variant of fibronectin attached to a solid phase

Mol Microbiol. 1995 Feb;15(3):581-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2958.1995.tb02271.x.


Group B streptococci (GBS) are the leading cause of neonatal pneumonia and meningitis. Adherence of GBS to host tissues may play an important role in the pathogenesis of infection. The host molecules which mediate GBS adherence to host tissues are unknown. Many bacterial pathogens adhere to fibronectin, an important component of the extracellular matrix (ECM). Some pathogens adhere to both immobilized and soluble fibronectin, while others adhere to immobilized fibronectin, but not to soluble fibronectin. Previous data indicated that GBS do not adhere to soluble fibronectin. We studied the ability of GBS to adhere to immobilized fibronectin. Forty-five per cent of the input inoculum of COH1, a virulent GBS isolate, adhered to fibronectin immobilized on polystyrene. COH1 did not adhere to the other ECM proteins tested (laminin, type I collagen, vitronectin, and tenascin). Nine out of nine GBS strains from human sources tested adhered specifically to fibronectin at levels varying from 4-60%. We considered the possibility that GBS were adherent to a contaminant in the fibronectin preparation. Properties of fibronectin, including the presence of an immunologic epitope of fibronectin and binding to collagen, were verified to be properties of the molecule to which GBS adhere. COH1 adhered to fibronectin captured by a monoclonal antibody to fibronectin (FN-15), confirming that the molecule to which GBS adhere bears immunologic determinants of fibronectin. Adherence of COH1 to fibronectin was inhibited by collagen, confirming that the molecule to which GBS adhere binds to collagen. These data strongly suggest that GBS adhere to fibronectin, and not to a contaminant.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Bacterial Adhesion*
  • Collagen / metabolism
  • Fibronectins / chemistry
  • Fibronectins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Molecular Weight
  • Oligopeptides / metabolism
  • Polystyrenes
  • Protein Binding
  • Solubility
  • Streptococcal Infections / microbiology
  • Streptococcus agalactiae / isolation & purification
  • Streptococcus agalactiae / metabolism*


  • Fibronectins
  • Oligopeptides
  • Polystyrenes
  • arginyl-glycyl-aspartic acid
  • Collagen