YadA, the multifaceted Yersinia adhesin

Int J Med Microbiol. 2001 Aug;291(3):209-18. doi: 10.1078/1438-4221-00119.


The adhesion protein YadA is encoded by the yadA gene located in the 70-kb virulence plasmid of Yersinia (pYV) that is common to the pathogenic Yersinia species (Y. pestis, Y. pseudotuberculosis and Y. enterocolitica). YadA is a virulence factor of Y. enterocolitica, however, YadA seems to be dispensable for the virulence of Y. pseudotuberculosis, and in wild-type Y. pestis the yadA gene has a frameshift mutation silencing the gene. Expression of the Y. pseudotuberculosis YadA in Y. pestis reduces its virulence. YadA is a homotrimer of ca. 45-kDa subunits that are anchored to the outer membrane via their C-termini, while their N-termini form a globular head on top of a stalk; the 'lollipop'-shaped YadA structure covers the entire bacterial surface giving it hydrophobic properties. The yadA gene expression is induced at 37 degrees C by the temperature-dependent transcriptional activator LcrF. YadA is a multifaceted protein as revealed by its different biological properties. YadA+ bacteria bind to collagens, laminin, fibronectin, intestinal submucosa, mucus, and to hydrophobic surfaces like polystyrene. YadA+ bacteria autoagglutinate in stationary culture and also specifically agglutinate guinea pig red blood cells. YadA is also a potent serum resistance factor as it inhibits the classical pathway of complement. As invasin, it mediates low rate invasion to tissue culture cells. In a rat model of reactive arthritis YadA and specifically YadA-mediated collagen binding is necessary for Y. enterocolitica to induce the disease. Despite of this wealth of information or perhaps because of it, the in vivo role of YadA during infection remains still largely unresolved.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adhesins, Bacterial* / genetics
  • Adhesins, Bacterial* / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Virulence
  • Yersinia / genetics
  • Yersinia / metabolism
  • Yersinia / pathogenicity*
  • Yersinia Infections / microbiology*


  • Adhesins, Bacterial
  • YadA protein, Yersinia