Role of α-Dystroglycan as a Schwann Cell Receptor for Mycobacterium leprae

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Science  11 Dec 1998:
Vol. 282, Issue 5396, pp. 2076-2079
DOI: 10.1126/science.282.5396.2076

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α-Dystroglycan (α-DG) is a component of the dystroglycan complex, which is involved in early development and morphogenesis and in the pathogenesis of muscular dystrophies. Here, α-DG was shown to serve as a Schwann cell receptor for Mycobacterium leprae, the causative organism of leprosy. Mycobacterium lepraespecifically bound to α-DG only in the presence of the G domain of the α2 chain of laminin-2. Native α-DG competitively inhibited the laminin-2–mediated M. leprae binding to primary Schwann cells. Thus, M. leprae may use linkage between the extracellular matrix and cytoskeleton through laminin-2 and α-DG for its interaction with Schwann cells.

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