MSCRAMM-mediated adherence of microorganisms to host tissues

Annu Rev Microbiol. 1994;48:585-617. doi: 10.1146/annurev.mi.48.100194.003101.


Microbial adhesion to host tissue is the initial critical event in the pathogenesis of most infections and, as such, is an attractive target for the development of new antimicrobial therapeutics. Specific microbial components (adhesins) mediate adherence to host tissues by participating in amazingly sophisticated interactions with host molecules. This review focuses on a class of cell surface adhesins that specifically interact with extracellular matrix components and which we have designated MSCRAMMs (microbial surface components recognizing adhesive matrix molecules). MSCRAMMs recognizing fibronectin-, fibrinogen-, collagen-, and heparin-related polysaccharides are discussed in terms of structural organization, ligand-binding structures, importance in host tissue colonization and invasion, and role as virulence factors.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adhesins, Bacterial / metabolism*
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Bacterial Adhesion*
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins / metabolism*
  • Gram-Negative Bacteria / metabolism*
  • Gram-Negative Bacteria / pathogenicity
  • Gram-Positive Bacteria / metabolism*
  • Gram-Positive Bacteria / pathogenicity
  • Heparin / metabolism
  • Molecular Sequence Data


  • Adhesins, Bacterial
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins
  • Heparin