Adherence of Helicobacter pylori cells and their surface components to HeLa cell membranes

Jean Louis Fauchère, Martin J. Blaser

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67 Scopus citations


Four Helicobacter pylori strains were used to develop in vitro methods to assess adherence to HeLa cells. Using direct detection by microscopy, adhesion scores increased with the initial bacteria-to-cell ratio. The urease method assessed H. pylori bound to HeLa cells by their urease activity. The percentage of the original inoculum adhering to HeLa cells remained constant for initial ratios from 102 to 105 bacteria per cell. An ELISA using anti-H. pylori serum assessed whole bacteria or components bound to HeLa cell fractions. By all three methods, the four H. pylori strains were adherent to HeLa cells or membranes whereas Campylobacter fetus and Providencia control strains were not. The adherence of H. pylori whole cells decreased following extraction with saline, water, or glycine buffer and most of the superficial adhering material (SAM) was present in the saline or water extracts. SAM bound better to HeLa membranes than to calf fetuin or bovine serum albumin (BSA); binding was inhibited by preincubation of SAM with HeLa membranes but not with fetuin or BSA or by pretreatment of HeLa membranes with neuraminidase. These data indicate that SAM has a specific receptor on the HeLa cell membranes. By gel exclusion chromatography of bacterial extracts, the most adherent components were found in the fractions which also contained the highest urease activity; these fractions included urease subunit antigens. We conclude that adherence of H. pylori can be assessed by microtiter assays and involves bacterial surface material which co-purifies with urease and is different from the N-acetyl-neuraminyl-lactose binding hemagglutinin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)427-439
Number of pages13
JournalMicrobial Pathogenesis
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1990
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Infectious Diseases


  • HeLa cell membrane
  • Helicobacter
  • adherence
  • urease


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