Host cell binding mediated by Leptospira interrogans adhesins

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Leptospirosis is a neglected infectious disease with global impact on both humans and animals. The increase in urban development without sanitation planning is one of the main reasons for the disease spreading. The symptoms are similar to those of flu-like diseases, such as dengue, yellow fever, and malaria, which can result in a misleading clinical diagnosis. The characterization of host–pathogen interactions is important in the development of new vaccines, treatments, and diagnostics. However, the pathogenesis of leptospirosis is not well understood, and many gaps remain to be addressed. Here, we aimed to determine if Leptospira strains, virulent, culture-attenuated, and saprophytic, and the major outer membrane proteins OmpL37, OmpL1, LipL21, LipL41, and LipL46 are able to adhere to different endothelial, epithelial and fibroblast cell lines in vitro. We showed that virulent leptospires robustly bind to all cells compared to the culture-attenuated and saprophytic lines. The recombinant proteins exhibited certain adhesion, but only OmpL1 and LipL41 were able to bind to several cell lines, either in monolayer or in cell suspension. Blocking OmpL1 with polyclonal antibodies caused a decrease in bacterial binding to cells, contrasting with an increase observed when anti-LipL41 antibodies were used. The adhesion of OmpL1 to HMEC-1 and EA.hy926 was inhibited when cells were pre-incubated with collagen IV, suggesting that both compete for the same cell receptor. We present here for the first time the interaction of five leptospiral outer membrane proteins with several cell lines, and we conclude that LipL41 and OmpL1 may have an impact on leptospiral adhesion to mammalian cells and may mediate the colonization process in leptospiral pathogenesis.
Takahashi MB, Teixeira ARF, Nascimento ALTO. Host cell binding mediated by Leptospira interrogans adhesins. Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Oct-Dec; 23(24):15550. doi:10.3390/ijms232415550.
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