Inadequate knowledge of pathogenesis and pathophysiology has contributed to the high mortality and morbidity associated with neonatal Escherichia coli meningitis. We have shown previously that outer membrane protein A (OmpA) contributes to E. coli K1 invasion of brain microvascular endothelial cells. In this study we report that this OmpA+ K1 E. coli invasion of brain microvascular endothelial cells was inhibited by wheat germ agglutinin and chitooligomers prepared from the polymer of 1,4-linked GlcNAc, chitin. The specificity of the interaction between OmpA and GIcNAcβ1-4GlcNAc epitopes was verified by the demonstration that chitotriose-bound OmpA and wheat germ agglutinin-bound brain microvascular endothelial cell membrane proteins inhibit E. coli K1 invasion. Of interest, OmpA+ E. coli invasion into systemic endothelial cells did not occur, but invasion similar to that of brain microvascular endothelial cells was observed when systemic cells were treated with α-fucosidase, suggesting that the GlcNAcβ1-4GlcNAc moieties might be substituted with L-fucose on these cells. More importantly, the chitooligomers prevented entry of E. coli K1 into the cerebrospinal fluid of newborn rats with experimental hematogenous E. coli meningitis, suggesting that the GlcNAcβ1-4GlcNAc epitope of brain microvascular endothelial cells indeed mediates the traversal of E. coli K1 across the blood-brain barrier. A novel strategy with the use of soluble receptor analog(s) may be feasible in the prevention of devastating neonatal E. coli meningitis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases