Medical College of Wisconsin
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Integrin alpha IIb beta 3 mediates binding of the Lyme disease agent Borrelia burgdorferi to human platelets. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 1993 Aug 01;90(15):7059-63 PMID: 8394007 PMCID: PMC47075

Pubmed ID



Lyme disease is a chronic, multisystemic infection caused by the tick-borne spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi. Attachment of the spirochete to host cells via specific receptors is likely to be important in the establishment of infection. B. burgdorferi have previously been shown to bind to a variety of mammalian cells in vitro. Here we demonstrate that binding of B. burgdorferi to human platelets is mediated by the integrin alpha IIb beta 3 (glycoprotein IIb-IIIa), a critical receptor in thrombosis and hemostasis. Functional expression of this receptor requires platelet activation, and binding of the spirochete was observed only to activated platelets. Binding was inhibited by a synthetic Arg-Gly-Asp peptide that blocks ligand interaction with many integrins and by a synthetic peptide based on the gamma chain of fibrinogen that blocks binding to alpha IIb beta 3. In addition, attachment of the spirochete to platelets was inhibited by monoclonal antibodies directed against alpha IIb beta 3 that are known to block ligand-receptor interaction. No inhibition was seen with control peptides or with antibodies directed against other platelet receptors. B. burgdorferi bound efficiently to purified alpha IIb beta 3 but did not bind to platelets deficient in this integrin. Efficient platelet binding was displayed by a cloned, infectious B. burgdorferi strain, whereas a cloned noninfectious strain did not bind to platelets. Binding to integrins may be important for the ability of B. burgdorferi to establish infection in the diverse tissues affected by Lyme disease.

Author List

Coburn J, Leong JM, Erban JK


Jenifer Coburn PhD Professor in the Medicine department at Medical College of Wisconsin


2-s2.0-0027205383   125 Citations

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Amino Acid Sequence
Antibodies, Monoclonal
Bacterial Adhesion
Binding, Competitive
Blood Platelets
Borrelia burgdorferi Group
In Vitro Techniques
Lyme Disease
Molecular Sequence Data
Receptors, Cell Surface
jenkins-FCD Prod-321 98992d628744e349846c2f62ac68f241d7e1ea70