Systemic sporotrichosis is an emerging infection potentially fatal for immunocompromised patients. Adhesion to extracellular matrix proteins is thought to play a crucial role in invasive fungal diseases. Here we report studies of the adhesion of Sporothrix schenckii to the extracellular protein fibronectin (Fn). Both yeast cells and conidia of S. schenckii were able to adhere to Fn as detected by enzyme-linked immunosorbent binding assays. Adhesion of yeast cells to Fn is dose dependent and saturable. S. schenckii adheres equally well to 40-kDa and 120-kDa Fn proteolytic fragments. While adhesion to Fn was increased by Ca(2+), inhibition assays demonstrated that it was not RGD dependent. A carbohydrate-containing cell wall neutral fraction blocked up to 30% of the observed adherence for the yeast cells. The biochemical nature of this fraction suggests the participation of cell surface glycoconjugates in binding by their carbohydrate or peptide moieties. These results provide new data concerning S. schenckii adhesion mechanisms, which could be important in host-fungus interactions and the establishment of sporotrichosis.
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