Binding of the low-density lipoprotein by streptococcal collagen-like protein Scl1 of Streptococcus pyogenes


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Several bacterial genera express proteins that contain collagen-like regions, which are associated with variable (V) non-collagenous regions. The streptococcal collagen-like proteins, Scl1 and Scl2, of group A Streptococcus (GAS) are members of this ‘prokaryotic collagen’ family, and they too contain an amino-terminal non-collagenous V region of unknown function. Here, we use recombinant rScl constructs, derived from several Scl1 and Scl2 variants, and affinity chromatography to identify Scl ligands present in human plasma. First, we show that Scl1, but not Scl2, proteins from different GAS serotypes bind the same ligand identified as apolipoprotein B (ApoB100), which is a major component of the low-density lipoprotein (LDL). Scl1 binding to purified ApoB100 and LDL is specific and concentration-dependent. Furthermore, the non-collagenous V region of the Scl1 protein is responsible for LDL/ApoB100 binding because only those rScls, constructed by domain swapping, which contain the V region from Scl1 proteins, were able to bind to ApoB100 and LDL ligands, and this binding was inhibited by antibodies directed against the Scl1-V region. Electron microscopy images of Scl1–LDL complexes showed that the globular V domain of Scl1 interacted with spherical particles of LDL. Importantly, live M28-type GAS cells absorbed plasma LDL on the cell surface and this binding depended on the surface expression of the Scl1.28, but not Scl2.28, protein. Phylogenetic analysis showed that the non-collagenous globular domains of Scl1 and Scl2 evolved independently to form separate lineages, which differ in amino acid sequence, and these differences may account for the variations in binding patterns of Scl1 and Scl2 proteins. Present studies provide insight into the structure-function relationship of the Scl proteins and also underline the importance of lipoprotein binding by GAS.