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Eur J Immunol. 1991 Jun;21(6):1481-90.

Molecular characterization of an IgA receptor from group B streptococci: sequence of the gene, identification of a proline-rich region with unique structure and isolation of N-terminal fragments with IgA-binding capacity.

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Department of Microbiology, University of Lund, Sweden.


Certain strains of group B streptococci express a cell surface protein that binds IgA and acts as a virulence factor. This IgA receptor is referred to here as protein Bac. The gene for protein Bac was cloned and expressed in Escherichia coli, and the complete nucleotide sequence was determined. The deduced amino acid sequence of 1134 residues includes a signal sequence of 37 amino acids and a putative membrane anchor region at the C-terminal end. The processed form of the receptor, 1097 residues, has a calculated molecular weight of 123,786. There are no cysteines in protein Bac, suggesting a fibrillar structure. The C-terminal half of the protein includes a 90 residues long region with a novel type of periodic structure, the "XPZ motif", in which every third amino acid is proline. Unlike other bacterial immunoglobulin-binding proteins, there are no long repeats in protein Bac. Clones which express only part of the protein Bac gene were used to show that IgA-binding takes place in the N-terminal part of the molecule. Protein Bac was originally described as an antigen called beta, but N-terminal fragments that bind IgA do not react with a reference serum against the beta antigen. These and other data indicate that protein Bac can be divided into two regions with different functions: an N-terminal IgA-binding region and a C-terminal region corresponding to the beta antigen. The IgA-binding region of protein Bac does not show any homology to protein Arp, the IgA receptor from group A streptococci, although these receptors have similar binding properties. This indicates that convergent evolution has favored the appearance of these two structurally different streptococcal IgA receptors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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