The lacto-N-neotetraose-containing lipooligosaccharide (LOS) present on the surface of most Neisseria gonorrhoeae organisms may serve many important functions in gonococcal pathogenesis. This surface glycolipid contains the cross-reactive epitope to human paragloboside and can be sialylated by gonococci grown in the presence of CMP-N-acetylneuraminic acid. Another possible role for this glycolipid could be to mimic human asialocarbohydrates and act as a ligand for asialoglycoprotein receptors contained on numerous human cells. The most noted of this large family of receptors is that expressed on the surface of hepatic cells. In a model cell system, using the hepatoma tissue culture cell line HepG2, we wanted to investigate if the presence of this asialoglycoprotein receptor influenced the adherence and/or invasion of gonococci expressing the lacto-N-neotetraose structure. Piliated variants of the gonococcal wild-type strain 1291 and its isogeneic LOS mutant 1291E were used in adherence-invasion assays. This gonococcal strain is somewhat unusual in that it expresses large amounts of predominantly one species of LOS, thus reducing the complexity of interpreting the data. The data from these assays suggested that the Gal(β1-4)GlcNAc(β1-3)Gal(β1- 4)Glc carbohydrate structure on the wild-type LOS affected the adherence- invasion of gonococci into the HepG2 cells. In studies to determine whether the major hepatic asialoglycoprotein receptor was involved in these interactions, we found that the HepG2 cells contained two receptors which bound gonococcal LOS. One of these was the asialoglycoprotein receptor, and the data concerning this receptor will be reported elsewhere. The data on the second receptor are reported here. Purified, 125I-labeled gonococcal LOS was used to identify specific high-affinity LOS-binding sites. These binding experiments revealed one major binding site corresponding to a protein with a molecular mass of 70 kDa (p70). Several lines of evidence in this study suggested that the oligosaccharide region of LOS played an important role in LOS binding to the p70 of HepG2 cells. In addition, we show that this human LOS receptor has some similarities to the gonococcal Opa proteins.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases