Lectin-based detection of Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus by flow cytometry

  • Olga D. HendricksonEmail author
  • Vadim D. Nikitushkin
  • Anatoly V. Zherdev
  • Boris B. Dzantiev
Original Paper


This study develops a flow cytometry analysis of the bacterial pathogens Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus based on a ligand–bioreceptor interaction. We used fluorescently labeled plant lectins as natural receptors that could specifically interact with the cell wall carbohydrates of bacteria. An epifluorescence microscopy was used as an additional approach to confirm and visualize lectin–carbohydrate interactions. The binding specificity of plant lectins to E. coli and S. aureus cells was studied, and wheat germ agglutinin, which provided high-affinity interactions, was selected as a receptor. Using this method, bacterial pathogens can be detected in concentrations of up to 106 cells/mL within 5 min. Their accessibility and universality make lectin reagents a promising tool to control a wide range of bacterial pathogens.


Lectins Carbohydrates Escherichia coli Staphylococcus aureus Flow cytometry Detection 



This study was supported by the Russian Science Foundation (Grant 14-14-01131) with the exception of the microscopic studies of Mycobacterium that were supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (Grant 17-04-00564_a). The authors are grateful to Dr. V.N. Kopyltsov (Federal Research and Clinical Center of Physical–Chemical Medicine, Moscow, Russia) for providing S. aureus cells and Dr. T.A. Yagudin (A.N. Bach Institute of Biochemistry, Research Center of Biotechnology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia) for providing E. coli TG1 cells.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

203_2018_1613_MOESM1_ESM.docx (64 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 63 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Olga D. Hendrickson
    • 1
    Email author
  • Vadim D. Nikitushkin
    • 1
  • Anatoly V. Zherdev
    • 1
  • Boris B. Dzantiev
    • 1
  1. 1.A.N. Bach Institute of BiochemistryFederal Research Center “Fundamentals of Biotechnology” of the Russian Academy of SciencesMoscowRussia

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