Lectin-binding proteins of chlamydiae were detected by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and immunoblotting. All three Chlamydia species tested expressed two proteins when whole-elementary-body lysates were reacted with the biotinylated lectin Dolichos biflorus agglutinin. The protein with a molecular mass of 18 kilodaltons (kDa) responded strongly compared with a higher-molecular-mass protein that varied from 27 to 32 kDa with each chlamydia strain tested. Among six lectins tested, including concanavalin A, D. biflorus agglutinin, Ulex europaeus agglutinin, soybean agglutinin, peanut agglutinin, and wheat germ agglutinin, the latter was the only lectin that did not recognize any chlamydial protein. For each lectin that reacted against the elementary body of serovar L2 of Chlamydia trachomatis, the same two peptides, an 18-kDa peptide and a 32-kDa peptide, were revealed. These two polypeptides adhered to HeLa cell surface components. Binding of a lectin to the L2 reticulate body resulted in a reduced response at the 18-kDa peptide. The 18- and 32-kDa peptides were purified from L2 serovar elementary bodies by affinity chromatography. The two proteins isolated from a concanavalin A-agarose column maintained their lectin-binding capacities and elicited hemagglutinating properties against mouse erythrocytes. Periodate oxidation abolished the abilities of the peptides to adhere to any of the lectins tested. These results suggest that these lectin-binding proteins are glycoproteins that may be an essential factor for attachment of chlamydial organisms to host cells
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