Altered carbohydrate composition of salivary mucins from patients with cystic fibrosis and the adhesion of Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 1993 Sep;9(3):323-34. doi: 10.1165/ajrcmb/9.3.323.


We compared the chemical composition of salivary mucin glycopeptides from cystic fibrosis (CF) and from non-CF subjects and the adhesion of Pseudomonas aeruginosa to these different salivary glycopeptides. Three pools of CF saliva, four pools of non-CF saliva, one individual CF saliva, and one individual non-CF saliva were studied. The soluble fraction of the saliva was treated with pronase, and gel filtration was performed to obtain high and low molecular mass salivary mucin glycopeptides. The yield of total glycopeptides was significantly higher from CF than from non-CF saliva. Furthermore, the chemical composition revealed a significantly higher sialic acid content in CF than in non-CF mucin glycopeptides, and higher sulfate and fucose content in CF than in non-CF high molecular mass glycopeptides. We studied the adhesion of a nonmucoid strain of P. aeruginosa (1244), its nonpiliated isogenic derivative, and a mucoid strain (M35) to salivary mucin glycopeptides from patients with CF and from non-CF subjects. The three strains bound significantly more to the CF salivary glycopeptides than to the corresponding non-CF salivary glycopeptides. The nonpiliated isogenic mutant of P. aeruginosa 1244 also bound to CF salivary glycopeptides, suggesting that the adhesion of P. aeruginosa could involve nonpilus adhesions. Furthermore, neuraminidase treatment of CF glycopeptides decreased the adhesion of P. aeruginosa 1244. Altogether these results suggested that differences in mucins may in part explain the specificity of P. aeruginosa for CF.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Adhesion*
  • Carbohydrate Metabolism
  • Carbohydrates / analysis*
  • Chromatography, Gel
  • Cystic Fibrosis / metabolism*
  • Cystic Fibrosis / microbiology
  • Electrophoresis, Agar Gel
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Humans
  • Mucins / chemistry*
  • Mucins / metabolism
  • Neuraminidase / metabolism
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / metabolism
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / physiology*
  • Saliva / chemistry*
  • Saliva / metabolism


  • Carbohydrates
  • Mucins
  • Neuraminidase