Neisseria meningitidis Has Two Independent Modes of Recognizing Its Human Receptor CEACAM1Reportar como inadecuado

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Several human-restricted Gram-negative bacteria exploit carcinoembryonic antigen-related cell adhesion molecules CEACAMs for host colonization. For example, Neisseria meningitidis engages these human receptors via outer membrane proteins of the colony opacity-associated Opa protein family triggering internalization into non-phagocytic cells.

Principal Findings

We report that a non-opaque strain of N. meningitidis selectively interacts with CEACAM1, but not other CEACAM family members. Using functional assays of bacterial adhesion and internalisation, microscopic analysis, and a panel of CEACAM1 deletion mutants we demonstrate that the engagement of CEACAM1 by non-opaque meningococci occurs in a manner distinct from Opa protein-mediated association. In particular, the amino-terminal domain of CEACAM1 is necessary, but not sufficient for Opa protein-independent binding, which requires multiple extracellular domains of the human receptor in a cellular context. Knock-down of CEACAM1 interferes with binding to lung epithelial cells, whereas chemical or pharmacological disruption of host protein glycosylation does not abrogate CEACAM1 recognition by non-opaque meningococci. The previously characterized meningococcal invasins NadA or Opc do not operate in a CEACAM1-dependent manner.


The results demonstrate a mechanistically distinct, Opa protein-independent interaction between N. meningitidis and human CEACAM1. Our functional investigations suggest the presence of a second CEACAM1-binding invasin on the meningococcal surface that associates with the protein backbone and not the carbohydrate structures of CEACAM1. The redundancy in meningococcal CEACAM1-binding factors further highlights the important role of CEACAM recognition in the biology of this human-adapted pathogen.

Autor: Katharina Kuespert, Alexandra Roth, Christof R. Hauck



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