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Adhesion of type A Pasteurella mulocida to rabbit pharyngeal cells and its possible role in rabbit respiratory tract infections.

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  • Research Article


Pasteurella multocida serotype A was found in association with the mucosal epithelium of the nasopharynges of rabbits with respiratory tract infections. The bacteria specifically attached to squamous epithelial cells of the pharyngeal mucosa both in vivo and in vitro and to some tissue culture cell lines such as HeLa. All strains with serotype A capsules were adhesive. With the exception of one serotype D strain, strains with capsular serotypes B, D, and E were at least 10-fold less adhesive. Bacterial adhesiveness was much reduced after pronase digestion, heat treatment, and homogenization, but removal of the hyaluronic acid capsule increased adhesion. Electron microscopy revealed that fimbriae were produced by an adhesive pasteurella strain, but not by two nonadherent strains. The attachment of the former strain to pharyngeal and HeLa cells was inhibited by N-acetyl-D-glucosamine. Together, these findings suggest that this amino sugar may be a component of the receptor on both animal cell surfaces and that the fimbriae may be the adhesions. It is proposed that bacterial attachment has a role in colonization and infection of rabbit upper respiratory mucosae.

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