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Cell. 1994 Mar 11;76(5):829-39.

Cadherin expression is required for the spread of Shigella flexneri between epithelial cells.

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  • 1Unité de Pathogénie Microbienne Moléculaire Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale Unité 389, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France.


Shigella flexneri, a gram-negative pathogen, invades the human colonic epithelium. After entering epithelial cells, bacteria escape into the cytoplasm, move intracellularly, and pass from cell to cell. The bacterium diverts actin and associated actin-binding proteins to generate a cytoskeleton-based motor that pushes forward the bacterium. As the moving bacterium reaches the inner face of the host-cell cytoplasmic membrane, a protrusion forms that allows passage of this bacterium into a neighboring cell. We show here that components of the intermediate junction are used by the bacterium to allow this passage. Using S180, a mouse fibroblastic sarcoma cell line that does not produce cell adhesion molecules (CAM), and S180L and S180cadN, the same cell line transfected with L-CAM and N-cadherin cDNA, respectively, we demonstrate that expression of a cadherin is required for cell-to-cell spread to occur.

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