Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 33404575
Link to DOI – doi: 10.1039/d0nr06840c
Nanoscale . 2021 Jan 14;13(2):1257-1272. doi: 10.1039/d0nr06840c. Epub 2021 Jan 6.
Yad fimbriae are currently viewed as versatile bacterial adhesins able to significantly mediate host or plant-pathogen recognition and contribute to the persistence of Escherichia coli in both the environment and within hosts. To date, however, the underlying adhesion process of Yad fimbriae on surfaces defined by controlled coating chemistries has not been evaluated on the relevant molecular scale. In this work, the interaction forces operational between Yad fimbriae expressed by genetically modified E. coli and self-assembled monolayers (SAM) differing in terms of charge, hydrophobicity or the nature of decorating sugar units are quantified by Single Molecule Force Spectroscopy (SMFS) on the nanoscale. It is found that the adhesion of Yad fimbriae onto probes functionalized with xylose is as strong as that measured with probes decorated with anti-Yad antibodies (ca. 80 to 300 pN). In contrast, the interactions of Yad with galactose, lactose, mannose, -OH, -NH2, -COOH and -CH3 terminated SAMs are clearly non-specific. Interpretation of SMFS measurements on the basis of worm-like-chain modeling for polypeptide nanomechanics further leads to the estimates of the maximal extension of Yad fimbriae upon stretching, of their persistence length and of their polydispersity. Finally, we show for the first time a strong correlation between the adhesion properties of Yad-decorated bacteria determined from conventional macroscopic counting methods and the molecular adhesion capacity of Yad fimbriae. This demonstration advocates the effort that should be made to understand on the nanoscale level the interactions between fimbriae and their cognate ligands. The results could further help the design of potential anti-adhesive molecules or surfaces to better fight against the virulence of bacterial pathogens.