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Cell. 1997 Nov 14;91(4):511-20.

Enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC) transfers its receptor for intimate adherence into mammalian cells.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.


Enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC) belongs to a group of bacterial pathogens that induce epithelial cell actin rearrangements resulting in pedestal formation beneath adherent bacteria. This requires the secretion of specific virulence proteins needed for signal transduction and intimate adherence. EPEC interaction induces tyrosine phosphorylation of a protein in the host membrane, Hp90, which is the receptor for the EPEC outer membrane protein, intimin. Hp90-intimin interaction is essential for intimate attachment and pedestal formation. Here, we demonstrate that Hp90 is actually a bacterial protein (Tir). Thus, this bacterial pathogen inserts its own receptor into mammalian cell surfaces, to which it then adheres to trigger additional host signaling events and actin nucleation. It is also tyrosine-phosphorylated upon transfer into the host cell.

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