Synergistic roles for the Map and Tir effector molecules in mediating uptake of enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) into non-phagocytic cells

Cell Microbiol. 2003 Nov;5(11):773-83. doi: 10.1046/j.1462-5822.2003.00315.x.


Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) are a major cause of paediatric diarrhoea and a model for the family of attaching and effacing (A/E) pathogens. Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli encode a type III secretion system (TTSS) to transfer effector proteins into host cells, a process which is essential for virulence. In addition to generation of A/E lesions, the TTSS is also implicated in the ability of EPEC to invade cultured cells but the effector proteins responsible for promoting invasion have not been identified. In this paper we confirm the requirement of TTSS in EPEC invasion and demonstrate important roles for the Map and Tir effector molecules. Whereas in trans expression of Tir in the tir mutant restored invasion to wild-type levels, similar complementation of the map mutation by in trans expression of Map results in a hyperinvasive phenotype. The Map effector protein has two distinct functions within host cells, mediating Cdc42-dependent filopodia formation and targeting mitochondria to elicit dysfunction. The former function appears to be related to Map's ability to promote invasion as this was inhibited by interference with Cdc42 signalling. Conversely, Map targeting to mitochondria is not necessary for invasion. Promotion of EPEC invasion by Tir appears to involve interaction with intimin but is independent of pedestal formation, and intimin-Tir interaction is neither necessary nor sufficient for invasion. Comparison of the invasiveness of strains lacking Tir and/or Map with wild-type or mutant strains expressing the effectors in trans provides evidence that Map and Tir stimulate invasion by synergistic mechanisms. This synergism, which is in stark contrast to the antagonistic actions of Map and Tir in regulating filopodia and pedestal formation, further illustrates the complex interplay between EPEC effectors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adhesins, Bacterial / genetics
  • Adhesins, Bacterial / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Biological Transport
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism
  • Escherichia coli / metabolism
  • Escherichia coli / pathogenicity*
  • Escherichia coli / ultrastructure
  • Escherichia coli Proteins / genetics
  • Escherichia coli Proteins / metabolism*
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Phagocytes / metabolism*
  • Proteins / genetics
  • Proteins / metabolism
  • Pseudopodia / metabolism
  • Pseudopodia / ultrastructure
  • RNA, Small Interfering / metabolism
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / genetics
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / metabolism*
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / metabolism
  • Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome Protein
  • cdc42 GTP-Binding Protein / genetics
  • cdc42 GTP-Binding Protein / metabolism
  • rac1 GTP-Binding Protein / genetics
  • rac1 GTP-Binding Protein / metabolism


  • Adhesins, Bacterial
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Escherichia coli Proteins
  • Proteins
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Tir protein, E coli
  • WAS protein, human
  • Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome Protein
  • eaeA protein, E coli
  • cdc42 GTP-Binding Protein
  • rac1 GTP-Binding Protein