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Cell Microbiol. 2000 Apr;2(2):173-85.

Translocation of Yersinia entrocolitica across reconstituted intestinal epithelial monolayers is triggered by Yersinia invasin binding to beta1 integrins apically expressed on M-like cells.

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Max von Pettenkofer-Institute for Hygiene and Medical Microbiology, Ludwig Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany.


Yersinia enterocolitica cross the intestinal epithelium via translocation through M cells, which are located in the follicle-associated epithelium (FAE) of Peyer's patches (PP). To investigate the molecular basis of this process, studies were performed using a recently developed in vitro model, in which the enterocyte-like cell line Caco-2 and PP lymphocytes are co-cultured in order to establish FAE-like structures including M cells. Here, we demonstrate that Y. enterocolitica does not adhere significantly to the apical membrane of differentiated enterocyte-like Caco-2 cells that express binding sites for Ulex europaeus agglutinin (UEA)-1. In contrast, Y. enterocolitica adhered to, and was internalized by, cells that lacked UEA-1 binding sites and displayed a disorganized brush border. These cells were considered to be converted to M-like cells. Further analysis revealed that part of these cells expressed beta1 integrins at their apical surface and, as revealed by comparison of wild-type and mutant strains, interacted with invasin of Y. enterocolitica. Consistently, anti-beta1 integrin antibodies significantly inhibited internalization of inv-expressing yersiniae. Experiments with Yersinia mutant strains deficient in YadA or Yop secretion revealed that these virulence factors play a minor role in this process. After internalization, yersiniae were transported within LAMP-1-negative vacuoles to, and released at, the basal surface. Internalization and transport of yersiniae was inhibited by cytochalasin D, suggesting that F-actin assembly is required for this process. These results provide direct evidence that expression of beta1 integrins at the apical surface of M cells enables interaction with the invasin of Y. enterocolitica, and thereby initiates internalization and translocation of bacteria.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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