National Center for
2O0I: Crystal Structure Of The R185a Mutant Of The N-terminal Domain Of The Group B Streptococcus Alpha C Protein
Identification of a glycosaminoglycan binding region of the alpha C protein that mediates entry of group B Streptococci into host cells
J. Biol. Chem. (2007) 282 p.10526-10536
Group B Streptococcus (GBS) frequently colonizes the human gastrointestinal and gynecological tracts and less frequently causes deep tissue infections. The transition between colonization and infection depends upon the ability of the organism to cross epithelial barriers. The alpha C protein (ACP) on the surface of GBS contributes to this process. A virulence factor in mouse models of infection, and prototype for a family of Gram-positive bacterial surface proteins, ACP facilitates GBS entry into human cervical epithelial cells and movement across cell layers. ACP binds to host cell surface glycosaminoglycan (GAG). From crystallography, we have identified a cluster of basic residues (BR2) that is a putative GAG binding area in Domain 2, near the junction of the N-terminal domain of ACP and the first of a series of tandem amino acid repeats. D2-R, a protein construct including this region, binds to cells similarly to full-length ACP. We now demonstrate that the predicted charged BR2 residues confer GAG binding; site-directed mutagenesis of these residues (Arg(172), Arg(185), or Lys(196)) eliminates cell-binding activity of construct D2-R. In addition, we have constructed a GBS strain expressing a variant ACP with a charge-neutralizing substitution at residue 185. This strain enters host cells less effectively than does the wild-type strain and similarly to an ACP null mutant strain. The point mutant strain transcytoses similarly to the wild-type strain. These data indicate that GAG-binding activity underlies ACP-mediated cellular entry of GBS. GBS entry into host cells and transcytosis of host cells may occur by distinct mechanisms.