Host-pathogen adhesion as the basis of innovative diagnostics for emerging pathogens

  • Infectious diseases are an existential health threat, potentiated by emerging and re-emerging viruses and increasing bacterial antibiotic resistance. Targeted treatment of infectious diseases requires precision diagnostics, especially in cases where broad-range therapeutics such as antibiotics fail. There is thus an increasing need for new approaches to develop sensitive and specific in vitro diagnostic (IVD) tests. Basic science and translational research are needed to identify key microbial molecules as diagnostic targets, to identify relevant host counterparts, and to use this knowledge in developing or improving IVD. In this regard, an overlooked feature is the capacity of pathogens to adhere specifically to host cells and tissues. The molecular entities relevant for pathogen–surface interaction are the so-called adhesins. Adhesins vary from protein compounds to (poly-)saccharides or lipid structures that interact with eukaryotic host cell matrix molecules and receptors. Such interactions co-define the specificity and sensitivity of a diagnostic test. Currently, adhesin-receptor binding is typically used in the pre-analytical phase of IVD tests, focusing on pathogen enrichment. Further exploration of adhesin–ligand interaction, supported by present high-throughput “omics” technologies, might stimulate a new generation of broadly applicable pathogen detection and characterization tools. This review describes recent results of novel structure-defining technologies allowing for detailed molecular analysis of adhesins, their receptors and complexes. Since the host ligands evolve slowly, the corresponding adhesin interaction is under selective pressure to maintain a constant receptor binding domain. IVD should exploit such conserved binding sites and, in particular, use the human ligand to enrich the pathogen. We provide an inventory of methods based on adhesion factors and pathogen attachment mechanisms, which can also be of relevance to currently emerging pathogens, including SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19.

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Author:Alex van BelkumORCiDGND, Carina Almeida, Benjamin BardiauxORCiD, Sarah V. Barrass, Sarah J. ButcherORCiD, Tuğçe Çaykara, Sounak Chowdhury, Rucha Datar, Ian Eastwood, Adrian Goldman, Manisha Goyal, Lotta HapponenORCiD, Nadia Izadi-Pruneyre, Theis Jacobsen, Pirjo H. Johnson, Volkhard A. J. KempfORCiDGND, Andreas KießlingORCiD, Juan Leva Bueno, Anchal Malik, Johan MalmströmORCiD, Ina Meuskens, Paul A. Milner, Michael Nilges, Nicole PammeORCiDGND, Sally A. PeymanORCiD, Ligia R. RodriguesORCiD, Pablo Rodriguez-Mateos, Maria G. Sande, Carla Joana Silva, Aleksandra Cecylia StasiakORCiD, Thilo Stehle, Arno ThibauGND, Diana Jaqueline Vaca LlerenaORCiDGND, Dirk LinkeORCiD
Parent Title (English):Diagnostics
Place of publication:Basel
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2021/07/14
Date of first Publication:2021/07/14
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2021/11/09
Tag:adhesin; diagnostics; infectious diseases; receptor
Issue:7, art. 1259
Page Number:22
First Page:1
Last Page:22
This research was funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program in a project named Viral and Bacterial Adhesin Network Training (ViBrANT) under Marie Skłodowska-Curie Grant Agreement No. 765042. A.G. also acknowledges support from the BBSRC (grant number BB/M021610/1).
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 57 Biowissenschaften; Biologie / 570 Biowissenschaften; Biologie
6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 61 Medizin und Gesundheit / 610 Medizin und Gesundheit
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 4.0