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Heterologously expressed Staphylococcus aureus fibronectin-binding proteins are sufficient for invasion of host cells.
Infection and Immunity
Staphylococcus aureus invasion of mammalian cells, including epithelial, endothelial, and fibroblastic cells, critically depends on fibronectin bridging between S. aureus fibronectin-binding proteins (FnBPs) and the host fibronectin receptor integrin alpha(5)beta(1) (B. Sinha et al., Cell. Microbiol. 1:101-117, 1999). However, it is unknown whether this mechanism is sufficient for S. aureus invasion. To address this question, various S. aureus adhesins (FnBPA, FnBPB, and clumping factor [ClfA]) were expressed in Staphylococcus carnosus and Lactococcus lactis subsp. cremoris. Both noninvasive gram-positive microorganisms are genetically distinct from S. aureus, lack any known S. aureus surface protein, and do not bind fibronectin. Transformants of S. carnosus and L. lactis harboring plasmids coding for various S. aureus surface proteins (FnBPA, FnBPB, and ClfA) functionally expressed adhesins (as determined by bacterial clumping in plasma, specific latex agglutination, Western ligand blotting, and binding to immobilized and soluble fibronectin). FnBPA or FnBPB but not of ClfA conferred invasiveness to S. carnosus and L. lactis. Invasion of 293 cells by transformants was comparable to that of strongly invasive S. aureus strain Cowan 1. Binding of soluble and immobilized fibronectin paralleled invasiveness, demonstrating that the amount of accessible surface FnBPs is rate limiting. Thus, S. aureus FnBPs confer invasiveness to noninvasive, apathogenic gram-positive cocci. Furthermore, FnBP-coated polystyrene beads were internalized by 293 cells, demonstrating that FnBPs are sufficient for invasion of host cells without the need for (S. aureus-specific) coreceptors.
Adhesins, Bacterial, Bacterial Proteins/physiology, Carrier Proteins/physiology, Cells, Cultured, Fibronectins/metabolism, Humans, Phenotype, Staphylococcus aureus/physiology
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