Cellular invasion by Staphylococcus aureus involves a fibronectin bridge between the bacterial fibronectin-binding MSCRAMMs and host cell beta1 integrins

Eur J Cell Biol. 2000 Oct;79(10):672-9. doi: 10.1078/0171-9335-00104.


Although Staphylococcus aureus is primarily considered an extracellular pathogen, recent evidence suggests that this bacterium can invade a variety of nonprofessional phagocytic cells. Here we investigate the early stages of cellular invasion by S. aureus and determine the bacterial and host components that are required for this process. S. aureus expresses two cell surface-associated fibronectin (FN)-binding proteins (FnbpA and FnbpB) that mediate the interaction of the bacteria with both soluble and solid-phase FN in vitro. Using a mutant of S. aureus that lacks the expression of both Fnbps, we show that the expression of either protein is necessary for efficient uptake by the mouse fibroblast line GD25beta1A. Invasion could be inhibited by soluble recombinant proteins encompassing either the FN-binding D repeat region or the A region (and B repeats) of FnbpA, suggesting that the activities of both regions are important in this process. We demonstrate that FN is also required for invasion of this cell line. In the presence of FN-depleted fetal bovine serum, the invasion level was reduced by approximately 40% compared to in the presence of whole fetal bovine serum. Invasion could be further reduced by the addition of anti-mouse FN antibodies to the assay. Finally, we utilize a mutant mouse fibroblast line, which lacks beta1 integrin expression, to demonstrate that host cell beta1 integrins are necessary for efficient cellular invasion. The level of invasion of the mutant cell line GD25 was reduced by approximately 97% compared to the beta1-expressing complemented cell line GD25beta1A. In addition, invasion of the GD25beta1A cell line could be inhibited by an RGD-containing peptide, further implicating a role for integrins in this process. Based on these observations, we put forward a model of S. aureus invasion in which host FN forms a bridge between the bacterial Fnbps and host cell beta1 integrins, leading to bacterial uptake.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adhesins, Bacterial*
  • Animals
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism
  • Cell Line
  • Colony Count, Microbial
  • DNA, Complementary / metabolism
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Fibronectins / metabolism*
  • Integrin beta1 / metabolism*
  • Integrins / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Models, Genetic
  • Mutation
  • Oligopeptides / pharmacology
  • Recombinant Proteins / metabolism
  • Recombinant Proteins / pharmacology
  • Staphylococcus aureus / cytology*
  • Staphylococcus aureus / physiology*
  • Temperature


  • Adhesins, Bacterial
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Carrier Proteins
  • DNA, Complementary
  • Fibronectins
  • Integrin beta1
  • Integrins
  • Oligopeptides
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • adhesin, Staphylococcus aureus
  • fibronectin-binding proteins, bacterial
  • arginyl-glycyl-aspartic acid