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BMC Microbiol. 2008 Sep 8;8:142. doi: 10.1186/1471-2180-8-142.

The PagN protein of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium is an adhesin and invasin.

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Department of Clinical Microbiology, Trinity College Dublin, St James's Hospital, Dublin 8, Ireland.



The pagN gene of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium is a PhoP-regulated gene that is up-regulated during growth within macrophages and in vivo in murine models of infection. The PagN protein displays similarity to the Hek and Tia invasins/adhesins of Escherichia coli. Thus far no function has been ascribed to the PagN protein.


Here we show that the outer membrane located PagN protein mediates agglutination of red blood cells and that this can be masked by LPS. When expressed in Escherichia coli the PagN protein supports adhesion to and invasion of mammalian cells in a manner that is dependent on cytoskeletal rearrangements. S. enterica sv Typhimurium pagN mutants display a reduction in adhesion to and invasion of epithelial cells. Finally, we demonstrate that over-expression of PagN in a SPI-1 mutant can partially compensate for the lack of a functional invasasome.


PagN is an outer membrane protein that may contribute to the virulence of S. Typhimurium. This protein is a haemagglutinin and contributes to the adherence to mammalian cells. In addition, PagN can mediate high-level invasion of CHO-K1 cells. Previously,pagN mutants have been shown to be less competitive in vivo and thus this may be due to their lessened ability to interact with mammalian cells. Finally PagN can be added to an ever-growing repertoire of factors that contribute to the pathogenesis of Salmonella.

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