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Mol Microbiol. 1999 Mar;31(6):1695-707.

Insertion of EspD into epithelial target cell membranes by infecting enteropathogenic Escherichia coli.

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Institut für Infektiologie, Zentrum für Molekularbiologie der Entzündung (ZMBE), Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Germany.


Diffusely adhering Escherichia coli (DAEC) strains have been implicated in epidemiological studies as a cause of diarrhoea in children. However, the molecular interactions of these pathogens with target cells have remained largely obscure. We found that some DAEC strains contain homologues of the locus of enterocyte effacement (LEE) pathogenicity island and secrete EspA, EspB and EspD proteins necessary for the formation of the attaching and effacing (A/E) lesions. To characterize the function of the EspD protein further, we cloned and sequenced the espD genes of two DA-EPEC strains and compared their deduced amino-acid sequences with known EspD sequences. A pattern of two conserved transmembrane regions and one conserved coiled-coil region is predicted in EspD and also in the type III system secreted proteins YopB, PopB, IpaB and SipB of Yersinia, Pseudomonas, Shigella and Salmonella respectively. The EspD protein is inserted into a trypsin-sensitive location in the HeLa cell membrane at sites of bacterial contact, but is not translocated into the cytoplasm. Secretion of EspD increases upon contact with host cells. We propose that the membrane-located EspD protein is part of the translocation apparatus for Esp proteins into the target host cell performing functions similar to YopB in Yersinia.

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