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Fibronectin Facilitates Mycobacterium tuberculosis Attachment to Murine Alveolar Macrophages

American Society for Microbiology
Publication Date
  • Molecular Pathogenesis
  • Biology
  • Medicine


Mycobacterium tuberculosis remains a major cause of pulmonary infection worldwide. Attachment of M. tuberculosis organisms to alveolar macrophages (AMs) represents the earliest phase of primary infection in pulmonary tuberculosis. In this study fibronectin (Fn), an adhesive protein, is shown to bind M. tuberculosis organisms and facilitates attachment of M. tuberculosis to murine AMs. A monoclonal antibody (MAb) specific to the heparin binding domain (HBD) of Fn decreases 125I-Fn binding to M. tuberculosis; whereas MAbs specific to either the cell binding domain (CBD) or the gelatin binding domain (GBD) have no effect on Fn binding to M. tuberculosis. In the presence of exogenous Fn (10 μg/ml) M. tuberculosis attachment to AMs increased significantly from control levels (means ± standard errors of the means) of 11.5% ± 1.1% to 44.2% ± 4.2% (P < 0.05). Fn-enhanced attachment was significantly decreased from 44.2% ± 4.2% to 10.8% ± 1.2% (P < 0.05) in the presence of anti-Fn polyclonal antibodies. The attachment is also inhibited in the presence of MAbs specific for the HBD and CBD, whereas MAbs specific to GBD did not affect the attachment. Further, an Fn cell binding peptide, Arg-Gly-Asp-Ser (RGDS), decreased the attachment from 44.2% ± 4.2% to 15.3% ± 1.2% (P < 0.05), whereas addition of a control peptide, Arg-Gly-Glu-Ser (RGES) did not affect the attachment (40.5% ± 1.8%). These results suggest that Fn-mediated attachment of M. tuberculosis can occur through the binding of Fn to the AM via the CBD and to M. tuberculosis organisms via the HBD.

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