Infections caused by Staphylococcus aureus - particularly nosocomial infections - represent a great concern. Usually, the early stage of pathogenesis consists on asymptomatic nasopharynx colonization, which could result in dissemination to other mucosal niches or invasion of sterile sites, such as blood. This pathogenic route depends on scavenging of nutrients as well as binding to and disrupting extracellular matrix (ECM). Manganese transport protein C (MntC), a conserved manganese-binding protein, takes part in this infectious scenario as an ion-scavenging factor and surprisingly as an ECM and coagulation cascade binding protein, as revealed in this work. This study showed a marked ability of MntC to bind to several ECM and coagulation cascade components, including laminin, collagen type IV, cellular and plasma fibronectin, plasminogen and fibrinogen by ELISA. The MntC binding to plasminogen appears to be related to the presence of surface-exposed lysines, since previous incubation with an analogue of lysine residue, ?-aminocaproic acid, or increasing ionic strength affected the interaction between MntC and plasminogen. MntC-bound plasminogen was converted to active plasmin in the presence of urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA). The newly released plasmin, in turn, acted in the cleavage of the ? and ? chains of fibrinogen. In conclusion, we describe a novel function for MntC that may help staphylococcal mucosal colonization and establishment of invasive disease, through the interaction with ECM and coagulation cascade host proteins. These data suggest that this potential virulence factor could be an adequate candidate to compose an anti-staphylococcal human vaccine formulation.
Pasteurella pneumotropica is an opportunist Gram negative bacterium responsible for rodent pasteurellosis that affects upper respiratory, reproductive and digestive tracts of mammals. In animal care facilities the presence of P. pneumotropica causes severe to lethal infection in immunodeficient mice, being also a potential source for human contamination. Indeed, occupational exposure is one of the main causes of human infection by P. pneumotropica. The clinical presentation of the disease includes subcutaneous abscesses, respiratory tract colonization and systemic infections. Given the ability of P. pneumotropica to fully disseminate in the organism, it is quite relevant to study the role of the complement system to control the infection as well as the possible evasion mechanisms involved in bacterial survival. Here, we show for the first time that P. pneumotropica is able to survive the bactericidal activity of the human complement system. We observed that host regulatory complement C4BP and Factor H bind to the surface of P. pneumotropica, controlling the activation pathways regulating the formation and maintenance of C3-convertases. These results show that P. pneumotropica has evolved mechanisms to evade the human complement system that may increase the efficiency by which this pathogen is able to gain access to and colonize inner tissues where it may cause severe infections.
Leptospirosis is an infectious disease of public health importance. To successfully colonize the host, pathogens have evolved multiple strategies to escape the complement system. Here we demonstrate that the culture supernatant of pathogenic but not saprophytic Leptospira inhibit the three complement pathways. We showed that the proteolytic activity in the supernatants of pathogenic strains targets the central complement molecule C3 and specific proteins from each pathway, such as factor B, C2, and C4b. The proteases cleaved ? and ? chains of C3 and work in synergy with host regulators to inactivate C3b. Proteolytic activity was inhibited by 1,10-phenanthroline, suggesting the participation of metalloproteases. A recombinant leptospiral metalloprotease from the thermolysin family cleaved C3 in serum and could be one of the proteases responsible for the supernatant activity. We conclude that pathogenic leptospiral proteases can deactivate immune effector molecules and represent potential targets to the development of new therapies in leptospirosis.
LipL32 is the most abundant outer membrane protein from pathogenic Leptospira and has been shown to bind extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins as well as Ca(2+). Recent crystal structures have been obtained for the protein in the apo- and Ca(2+)-bound forms. In this work, we produced three LipL32 mutants (D163-168A, Q67A, and S247A) and evaluated their ability to interact with Ca(2+) and with ECM glycoproteins and human plasminogen. The D163-168A mutant modifies aspartate residues involved in Ca(2+) binding, whereas the other two modify residues in a cavity on the other side of the protein structure. Loss of calcium binding in the D163-D168A mutant was confirmed using intrinsic tryptophan fluorescence, circular dichroism, and thermal denaturation whereas the Q67A and S247A mutants presented the same Ca(2+) affinity as the wild-type protein. We then evaluated if Ca(2+) binding to LipL32 would be crucial for its interaction with collagen type IV and plasma proteins fibronectin and plasminogen. Surprisingly, the wild-type protein and all three mutants, including the D163-168A variant, bound to these ECM proteins with very similar affinities, both in the presence and absence of Ca(2+) ions. In conclusion, calcium binding to LipL32 may be important to stabilize the protein, but is not necessary to mediate interaction with host extracellular matrix proteins.
Leptospirosis is a zoonosis caused by pathogenic bacteria from the genus Leptospira. The disease represents a serious public health problem in underdeveloped tropical countries. Leptospires infect hosts through small abrasions in the skin or mucous membranes and they rapidly disseminate to target organs. The capacity of some pathogenic leptospiral strains to acquire the negative complement regulators factor H (FH) and C4b binding protein correlates with their ability to survive in human serum. In this study we assessed the functional consequences of the age macular degeneration-associated polymorphism FH His??² or FH Tyr??² on FH-Leptospira interactions. In binding assays using sub-saturating amounts of FH, the FH Tyr??² variant interacted with all the strains tested more strongly than the FH His??² variant. At higher concentrations, differences tended to disappear. We then compared cofactor activities displayed by FH His??² and FH Tyr??² bound to the surface of L. interrogans. Both variants exhibit similar activity as cofactors for Factor I-mediated cleavage of C3b, thus indicating that they do not differ in their capacity to regulate the complement cascade.
Adhesins need to be exposed on the surface of pathogenic bacteria to properly interact with host tissues and allow establishment of the infection. This fact implies that, in theory, one could manage or avoid infection by controlling adhesins function, and also by indirectly detecting bacteria through their surface-exposed adhesins. Besides, binding of anti-adhesin immunoglobulins on the bacterial surface tend to promote the opsonization of the pathogen. Therefore, bacterial adhesins represent a great target to develop new biopharmaceuticals, which may become commercially and medically important products. In this review, we will summarize the biological importance of bacterial adhesins, and also discuss some recent patents related to these molecules, as well as their use and possible new future developments in this area.
Leptospira, the causative agent of leptospirosis, interacts with several host molecules, including extracellular matrix components, coagulation cascade proteins, and human complement regulators. Here we demonstrate that acquisition of factor H (FH) on the Leptospira surface is crucial for bacterial survival in the serum and that these spirochetes, besides interacting with FH, FH related-1, and C4b binding protein (C4BP), also acquire FH like-1 from human serum. We also demonstrate that binding to these complement regulators is mediated by leptospiral immunoglobulin-like (Lig) proteins, previously shown to interact with fibronectin, laminin, collagen, elastin, tropoelastin, and fibrinogen. Factor H binds to Lig proteins via short consensus repeat domains 5 and 20. Competition assays suggest that FH and C4BP have distinct binding sites on Lig proteins. Moreover, FH and C4BP bound to immobilized Ligs display cofactor activity, mediating C3b and C4b degradation by factor I. In conclusion, Lig proteins are multifunctional molecules, contributing to leptospiral adhesion and immune evasion.
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