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Microbiology. 2011 Aug;157(Pt 8):2328-38. doi: 10.1099/mic.0.048298-0. Epub 2011 May 5.

Role of Mycoplasma pneumoniae glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) in mediating interactions with the human extracellular matrix.

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Dresden University of Technology, Medical Faculty Carl Gustav Carus, Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene, Fetscherstrasse 74, D-01307 Dresden, Germany.


In different, phylogenetically unrelated micro-organisms, glycolytic enzymes play a dual role. In the cytosol they are involved in metabolic reactions whereas the surface-localized fraction of the enzymes contributes to adhesion and virulence. Glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) is a typical member of this group of multifunctional proteins. In this study, we characterized the GAPDH of Mycoplasma pneumoniae, a common pathogen of the human respiratory mucosa. Full-length GAPDH of M. pneumoniae was successfully expressed and used to produce a polyclonal antiserum. By immunofluorescence, colony blot and ELISA experiments with different fractions of the M. pneumoniae proteins, GAPDH was demonstrated to be present in the cytosol and at even higher concentrations at the surface of mycoplasmas. Nevertheless, antibodies against recombinant GAPDH were not detected in sera of immunized animals or of patients with confirmed M. pneumoniae infection. Recombinant GAPDH bound to different human cell lines in a concentration-dependent manner, and binding was inhibited by specific anti-GAPDH serum. In contrast, this antiserum did not significantly influence the adherence of M. pneumoniae to HeLa cells. When different human extracellular matrix proteins were tested in Western blot assays, GAPDH bound to fibrinogen. The results showed that the GAPDH of M. pneumoniae is a member of the family of cytosol-localized glycolytic enzymes, which also occur at the surface of the bacterium, and mediates interactions with the extracellular matrix proteins of the human host. Thus, the surface-exposed fraction of GAPDH may be a factor that contributes to the successful colonization of the human respiratory tract by M. pneumoniae.

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