The Role of Sialic Acid in Opsonin-Dependent and Opsonin-Independent Adhesion of Listeria monocytogenesto Murine Peritoneal Macrophages


The adhesion of listeriae to host cells employs mechanisms which are complex and not well understood. Listeria monocytogenesis a facultative intracellular pathogen responsible for meningoencephalitis, septicemia, and abortion in susceptible and immunocompromised individuals. Subsequent to colonization and penetration of the gut epithelium, the organism attaches to resident macrophages and replicates intracellularly, thus evading the humoral immune system of the infected host. The focus of these studies was to investigate the attachment of the organism to murine peritoneal macrophages in an opsonin-dependent and opsonin-independent fashion. Assessment of competitive binding experiments by immunofluorescence and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays showed that adhesion of the organism to macrophages in the presence or absence of opsonins was inhibited (90%) by N-acetylneuraminic acid (NAcNeu). In addition, the lectin from Maackia amurensis, with affinity for NAcNeu-α(2,3)galactose, blocked binding of L. monocytogenes to host cells. Oxidation of the surface carbohydrates on the organism by using sodium metaperiodate resulted in a dose-dependent reduction (up to 98%) in adherence to macrophages. Monoclonal antibody to complement receptor 3 did not prevent listeriae from binding to mouse macrophages or from replicating within the infected cells whether or not normal mouse serum was present. Based on our results, we propose the involvement of NAcNeu, a member of the sialic acid group, in the attachment of L. monocytogenes to permissive murine macrophages.

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Infection and Immunity


American Society for Microbiology

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