Due to molecular mimicry, Campylobacter jejuni lipo-oligosaccharides can induce a cross-reactive antibody response to nerve gangliosides, which leads to Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS). Cross-reactive antibodies to ganglioside GQ1b are strongly associated with oculomotor weakness in GBS and its variant, Miller Fisher syndrome (MFS). Antigen recognition is a crucial first step in the induction of a cross-reactive antibody response, and it has been shown that GQ1b-like epitopes expressed on the surface of C. jejuni are recognized by sialic acid-binding immunoglobulin-like lectin-7 (Siglec-7). We aimed to determine the epitope specificity of C. jejuni binding to Siglec-7, and correlate the outcome to disease symptoms in GBS and MFS patients. Using a well-defined GBS/MFS-associated C. jejuni strain collection, which included three sialic acid knockout strains, we found that Siglec-7 exclusively binds to C. jejuni strains that express terminal disialylated ganglioside mimics. When serological and diagnostic patient records were correlated with the Siglec-7-binding properties, we observed an association between Siglec-7 binding and the presence of anti-GQ1b antibodies in patient serum. In addition, Siglec-7 binding was associated with oculomotor weakness in GBS and MFS patients. Lipo-oligosaccharide-specific binding of C. jejuni to Siglec-7 may be an initiating event in immune recognition and presentation, and lead to anti-GQ1b antibody production and the development of ocular weakness in GBS or MFS.

Campylobacter jejuni, Disialylation, Lipo-oligosaccharide, Miller Fisher Syndrome, Siglec-7
dx.doi.org/10.1111/1469-0691.12073, hdl.handle.net/1765/38528
Clinical Microbiology and Infection
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Heikema, A.P, Jacobs, B.C, Horst-Kreft, D, Huizinga, R, Kuijf, M.L, Endtz, H.P, … van Wamel, W.J.B. (2013). Siglec-7 specifically recognizes Campylobacter jejuni strains associated with oculomotor weakness in Guillain-Barré syndrome and Miller Fisher syndrome. Clinical Microbiology and Infection, 19(2). doi:10.1111/1469-0691.12073