• Adherence;
  • Adhesin;
  • Receptor;
  • Actinobacillus;
  • Haemophilus;
  • Pasteurella


The ability of bacteria to adhere to mucosal epithelium is dependent on the expression of adhesive molecules or structures, called adhesins, that allow attachment of the organisms to complementary molecules on mucosal surfaces, the receptors. Important human and animal pathogens are found among the Pasteurellaceae family which includes Haemophilus, Actinobacillus, and Pasteurella organisms. The purpose of this paper is to review the adhesin-receptor systems found in Pasteurellaceae, with an emphasis on recent developments in this specific area. Most of these organisms can employ multiple molecular mechanisms of adherence (or multiple adhesins) to initiate infection. Indeed, a wide variety of adhesins are expressed by members of the Pasteurellaceae, and different proteins (e.g. fimbriae, fibrils, outer membrane proteins) as well as polysaccharides (lipooligosaccharides, lipopolysaccharides, capsular polysaccharides) were clearly shown to play an important role in adherence. In many instances, these adhesins have proved to represent good vaccine candidates. Surprisingly, the receptors on host mucosal surfaces have yet been identified in very few cases.