Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 9282740
Mol. Microbiol. 1997 Jul;25(2):285-94
Listeria monocytogenes is an intracellular bacterial pathogen that expresses several surface proteins critical for the infectious process. Such proteins include InlA (internalin) and InlB, involved in bacterial entry into the host cell, and ActA, required for bacterially induced actin-based motility. Although the molecular mechanisms of attachment of InlA and ActA have been characterized, essentially nothing is known about how InlB is anchored to the bacterial surface. Using a genetic approach, we demonstrate that the last 232 amino acids of InlB are both necessary and sufficient for anchoring this protein to the bacterial surface. An InlB mutant protein deleted for the last 232 amino acids was secreted and not detected at the cell surface. A ‘domain-swapping’ strategy in which these 232 amino acids were used to replace the normal cell wall-anchoring domain of InlA resulted in a chimeric protein that was anchored to the cell surface and able to confer entry. Interestingly, surface association of InlB also occurred when InlB was added externally to bacteria, suggesting that association may be able to occur after secretion. This association was productive for invasion, as it conferred bacterial entry into host cells. The C-terminal anchoring region in InlB contains 80-amino-acid repeats beginning with the sequence GW that is also present in a newly identified surface-associated bacteriolysin of L. monocytogenes, called Ami. Addition of GW repeats to the C-terminal of InlB improves anchoring of the protein to the cell surface. These and other data suggest that such ‘GW’ repeats may constitute a novel motif for cell-surface anchoring in Listeria and other Gram-positive bacteria. This motif may have important consequences for the release of surface proteins involved in interactions with eukaryotic cells.