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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2005 May 20;330(4):1199-204.

Escherichia coli outer membrane protein A adheres to human brain microvascular endothelial cells.

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Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA.


Escherichia coli K1 is the most common gram-negative bacterium causing neonatal meningitis. The outer membrane protein A (OmpA) assembles a beta-barrel structure having four surface-exposed loops in E. coli outer membrane. OmpA of meningitis-causing E. coli K1 is shown to contribute to invasion of the human brain microvascular endothelial cells (HBMEC), the main cellular component of the blood-brain barrier (BBB). However, the direct evidence of OmpA protein interacting with HBMEC is not clear. In this study, we showed that OmpA protein, solubilized from the outer membrane of E. coli, adhered to HBMEC surface. To verify OmpA interaction with the HBMEC, we purified N-terminal membrane-anchoring beta-barrel domain of OmpA and all surface-exposed loops deleted OmpA proteins, and showed that the surface-exposed loops of OmpA were responsible for adherence to HBMEC. These findings indicate that the OmpA is the adhesion molecule with HBMEC and the surface-exposed loops of OmpA are the determinant of this interaction.

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