The molecular basis of fibronectin-mediated bacterial adherence to host cells


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Many pathogenic Gram-positive bacteria produce cell wall-anchored proteins that bind to components of the extracellular matrix (ECM) of the host. These bacterial MSCRAMMs (microbial surface components recognizing adhesive matrix molecules) are thought to play a critical role in infection. One group of MSCRAMMs, produced by staphylococci and streptococci, targets fibronectin (Fn, a glycoprotein found in the ECM and body fluids of vertebrates) using repeats in the C-terminal region of the bacterial protein. These bacterial Fn-binding proteins (FnBPs) mediate adhesion to host tissue and bacterial uptake into non-phagocytic host cells. Recent studies on interactions between the host and bacterial proteins at the residue-specific level and on the mechanism of host cell invasion are providing a much clearer picture of these processes.