Enteropathogenic E. coli translocated intimin receptor, Tir, interacts directly with alpha-actinin

Curr Biol. 2000 Jun 15;10(12):735-8. doi: 10.1016/s0960-9822(00)00543-1.


Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) triggers a dramatic rearrangement of the host epithelial cell actin cytoskeleton to form an attaching and effacing lesion, or pedestal. The pathogen remains attached extracellularly to the host cell through the pedestal for the duration of the infection. At the tip of the pedestal is a bacterial protein, Tir, which is secreted from the bacterium into the host cell plasma membrane, where it functions as the receptor for an EPEC outer membrane protein, intimin [1]. Delivery of Tir to the host cell results in its tyrosine phosphorylation, followed by Tir-intimin binding. Tir is believed to anchor EPEC firmly to the host cell, although its direct linkage to the cytoskeleton is unknown. Here, we show that Tir directly binds the cytoskeletal protein alpha-actinin. alpha-Actinin is recruited to the pedestal in a Tir-dependent manner and colocalizes with Tir in infected host cells. Binding is mediated through the amino terminus of Tir. Recruitment of alpha-actinin occurs independently of Tir tyrosine phosphorylation. Recruitment of actin, VASP, and N-WASP, however, is abolished in the absence of this tyrosine phosphorylation. These results suggest that Tir plays at least three roles in the host cell during infection: binding intimin on EPEC; mediating a stable anchor with alpha-actinin through its amino terminus in a phosphotyrosine-independent manner; and recruiting additional cytoskeletal proteins at the carboxyl terminus in a phosphotyrosine-dependent manner. These findings demonstrate the first known direct linkage between extracellular EPEC, through the transmembrane protein Tir, to the host cell actin cytoskeleton via alpha-actinin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actinin / metabolism*
  • Bacterial Proteins / chemistry
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Biological Transport
  • Chromatography, Affinity
  • Escherichia coli / pathogenicity*
  • Escherichia coli / physiology
  • Escherichia coli Proteins*
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein Binding
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / chemistry
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / metabolism*
  • Tyrosine / metabolism


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Escherichia coli Proteins
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Tir protein, E coli
  • Actinin
  • Tyrosine