Carbohydrate specificity of the surface lectins of Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Salmonella typhimurium

Nurit Firon*, Itzhak Ofek, Nathan Sharon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A large number of linear and branched oligosaccharides and several glycosides of d-mannose were tested for their inhibitory activity on the agglutination of yeast cells or guinea pig erythrocytes by three d-mannose-specific enteric bacteria possessing type 1 fimbriae. With Escherichia coli 346, the best inhibitors found are the α glycosides of the branched oligosaccharides α-d-Manp-(1→3)-[α-d-Manp-(1→6)]-α-d-Manp- (1→6)-α-d-Manp-(1→3)-d-Manp and α-d-Manp-(1→3)-[α-d-Manp-(1→6)]-α-d-Manp- (1→6)-[α-d-Manp-(1→2)-α-d-Manp-(1→3)-d- Manp and the trisaccharide α-d-Manp-(1→3)-β-d-Manp-(1→4)-d-GlcNAc, all of which are 21-30 times more inhibitory than methyl α-d-mannopyranoside. The aromatic glycoside p-nitrophenyl α-d-mannopyranoside was also a strong inhibitor (30 times more inhibitory than methyl α-d-mannopyranoside), whereas the corresponding β-d-glycoside was only a weak inhibitor (approximately as methyl α-d-mannopyranoside). A nearly identical pattern of inhibitory activity was observed with the fimbriae. This suggests that the combining site of the E. coli fimbrial lectin is in the form of an extended pocket on the surface of the lectin corresponding to the size of a trisaccharide and fitting best the structure α-d-Manp-(1→3)-β-d-Manp-(1→4)-d-GlcNAc. Since p-nitrophenyl α-d-mannopyranoside is a strong inhibitor, the existence of a hydrophobic region in the combining site or close to it was assumed. The combining site of the Klebsiella pneumoniae fimbrial lectin is probably similar to that of E. coli, but that of the Salmonella typhimurium fimbrial lectin differs considerably. It appears that the combining sites of the three bacterial lectins tested exhibit preference for structures found in N-glycosylic oligomannoside units of mammalian cell surface glycoproteins.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-249
Number of pages15
JournalCarbohydrate Research
Issue numberC
StatePublished - 16 Aug 1983
Externally publishedYes


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