Streptococcus mutans and Streptococcus intermedius adhesion to fibronectin films are oppositely influenced by ionic strength

H.J. Busscher, B. van de Belt-Gritter, R.J.B. Dijkstra, W. Norde, H.C. van der Mei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Bacterial adhesion to protein-coated surfaces is mediated by an interplay of specific and nonspecific interactions. Although nonspecific interactions are ubiquitously present, little is known about the physicochemical mechanisms of specific interactions. The aim of this paper is to determine the influence of ionic strength on the adhesion of two streptococcal strains to fibronectin films. Streptococcus mutans LT11 and Streptococcus intermedius NCTC11324 both possess antigen I/II with the ability to bind fibronectin from solution, but S. intermedius binds approximately 20 x less fibronectin than does the S. mutans strain under identical conditions. Both strains as well as fibronectin films are negatively charged in low ionic strength phosphate buffered saline (PBS, 10 x diluted), but bacteria appear uncharged in high ionic strength PBS. Physicochemical modeling on the basis of overall cell surface properties (cell surface hydrophobicity and zeta potentials) demonstrates that both strains should favor adhesion to fibronectin films in a high ionic strength environment as compared to in a low ionic strength environment, where electrostatic repulsion between equally charged surfaces is dominant. Adhesion of S. intermedius to fibronectin films in a parallel plate flow chamber was completely in line with this modeling, while in addition atomic force microscopy (AFM) indicated stronger adhesion forces upon retraction between fibronectin-coated tips and the cell surfaces in high ionic strength PBS than in low ionic strength PBS. Thus, the dependence of the interaction on ionic strength is dominated by the overall negative charge on the interacting surfaces. Adhesion of S. mutans to fibronectin films, however, was completely at odds with theoretical modeling. and the strain adhered best in low ionic strength PBS. Moreover, AFM indicated weaker repulsive forces upon approach between fibronectin-coated tips and the cell surfaces in low ionic strength PBS than in high ionic strength PBS. This indicated that the dependence of the interaction on ionic strength is dominated by electrostatic attraction between oppositely charged, localized domains on the interacting surfaces, despite their overall negative charge. In summary, this study shows that physicochemical modeling of bacterial adhesion to protein-coated surfaces is only valid provided the number of specific interaction sites on the cell surfaces is low. such as on S. intermedius NCTC11324. Nonspecific interactions are dominated by specific interactions if the number of specific interaction sites is large, Such as on S. mutans LT11. Its ionic strength dependence indicates that the specific interaction is electrostatic in nature and operative between oppositely charged domains on the interacting surfaces, despite the generally overall negatively charged character of the surfaces.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10968-10973
JournalLangmuir
Volume24
Issue number19
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Keywords

  • atomic-force microscopy
  • mitis strains
  • dlvo theory
  • surfaces

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