• The CXC chemokine-degrading protease SpyCep of Streptococcus pyogenes promotes its uptake into endothelial cells.

      Kaur, Simran Jeet; Nerlich, Andreas; Bergmann, Simone; Rohde, Manfred; Fulde, Marcus; Zähner, Dorothea; Hanski, Emanuel; Zinkernagel, Annelies; Nizet, Victor; Chhatwal, Gursharan S; et al. (2010-09-03)
      Streptococcus pyogenes expresses the LPXTG motif-containing cell envelope serine protease SpyCep (also called ScpC, PrtS) that degrades and inactivates the major chemoattractant interleukin 8 (IL-8), thereby impairing host neutrophil recruitment. In this study, we identified a novel function of SpyCep: the ability to mediate uptake into primary human endothelial cells. SpyCep triggered its uptake into endothelial cells but not into human epithelial cells originating from pharynx or lung, indicating an endothelial cell-specific uptake mechanism. SpyCep mediated cellular invasion by an endosomal/lysosomal pathway distinct from the caveolae-mediated invasion pathway of S. pyogenes. Recombinant expression and purification of proteolytically active SpyCep and a series of subfragments allowed functional dissection of the domains responsible for endothelial cell invasion and IL-8 degradation. The N-terminal PR domain was sufficient to mediate endothelial cell invasion, whereas for IL-8-degrading activity, the protease domain and the flanking A domain were required. A polyclonal rabbit serum raised against the recombinant protease efficiently blocked the invasion-mediating activity of SpyCep but not its proteolytic function, further indicating that SpyCep-mediated internalization is independent from its enzymatic activity. SpyCep may thus specifically mediate its own uptake as secreted protein into human endothelial cells.
    • Differences in the aromatic domain of homologous streptococcal fibronectin-binding proteins trigger different cell invasion mechanisms and survival rates.

      Rohde, Manfred; Graham, Rikki M; Branitzki-Heinemann, Katja; Borchers, Patricia; Preuss, Claudia; Schleicher, Ina; Zähner, Dorothea; Talay, Susanne R; Fulde, Marcus; Dinkla, Katrin; et al. (2011-03)
      Group A streptococci (GAS, Streptococcus pyogenes) and Group G streptococci (GGS, Streptococcus dysgalactiae ssp. equisimilis) adhere to and invade host cells by binding to fibronectin. The fibronectin-binding protein SfbI from GAS acts as an invasin by using a caveolae-mediated mechanism. In the present study we have identified a fibronectin-binding protein, GfbA, from GGS, which functions as an adhesin and invasin. Although there is a high degree of similarity in the C-terminal sequence of SfbI and GfbA, the invasion mechanisms are different. Unlike caveolae-mediated invasion by SfbI-expressing GAS, the GfbA-expressing GGS isolate trigger cytoskeleton rearrangements. Heterologous expression of GfbA on the surface of a commensal Streptococcus gordonii and purified recombinant protein also triggered actin rearrangements. Expression of a truncated GfbA (lacking the aromatic domain) and chimeric GfbA/SfbI protein (replacing the aromatic domain of SfbI with the GfbA aromatic domain) on S. gordonii or recombinant proteins alone showed that the aromatic domain of GfbA is responsible for different invasion mechanisms. This is the first evidence for a biological function of the aromatic domain of fibronectin-binding proteins. Furthermore, we show that streptococci invading via cytoskeleton rearrangements and intracellular trafficking along the classical endocytic pathway are less persistence than streptococci entering via caveolae.