- Streptococcus pneumoniae (Pnc) is one of the leading pathogens in the world. Attachment to respiratory mucosal and lung surfaces is presumed to be involved in carriage, in disease and in the interaction with macrophages initiating innate immune responses. We hypothesized that bacterial adhesins mediate Pnc adhesion and host cell invasiveness. Initial studies have focused on the purification of cell wall and membrane proteins using fetuin affinity chromatography, SDS PAGE and western blot analysis probed with pooled healthy human sera. Using a Pnc clinical isolate, and a gpt mutant we have detected 10-lectin proteins isolated from the cell wall and adherent to the affinity column and 15 lectins isolated from membrane extracts. The fetuin-captured lectins agglutinated rabbit erythrocytes. 15 proteins in the cell wall and 18 proteins in the membrane that failed to bind to the fetuin column did not agglutinate rabbit erythrocytes. Further purification of the cell wall and membrane fetuin-separated fractions was achieved via anion exchange FPLC, was verified by SDS PAGE. These proteins maintained their agglutinating activity, and were subsequently tested for their ability to interfere with Pnc adhesion and invasion of epithelial cells in culture. Additional biochemical, immunological and molecular techniques are being used in attempt to identify relevant proteins.