Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli Tir is an SH2/3 ligand that recruits and activates tyrosine kinases required for pedestal formation

Mol Microbiol. 2007 Mar;63(6):1748-68. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2958.2007.05626.x.


Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) cause intestinal inflammation, severe diarrhoea and mortality, particularly among children in developing nations. Upon attachment to intestinal epithelial cells, EPEC induces actin-filled membrane protrusions called 'pedestals' and disrupts microvilli to form attaching and effacing (A/E) lesions. EPEC also disrupts epithelial barrier function and causes colitis. Here we have investigated how virulence factors which orchestrate formation of actin pedestals interface with host tyrosine kinases. We show that Tec-family tyrosine kinases localize beneath EPEC and, with Abl-family kinases, comprise a set of redundant host kinases utilized by EPEC to form actin pedestals. We also show that Tir, a virulence factor required for pathogenesis, contains a polyproline region (PPR) that interacts with SH3 domains of redundant kinases, and a phosphorylation site (Y474) that interacts with kinase SH2 domains. These interactions are essential for pedestal formation, and mimic activation of kinases by cellular ligands. Our results suggest that a positive feedback loop exists in which initial phosphorylation of Tir on Y474 by tyrosine kinases causes recruitment of additional redundant kinases via PPR-SH3 interactions and PO(3)-Y474-SH2 interactions, which in turn phosphorylate other Tir molecules as well as proteins that catalyse formation of actin pedestals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Actins / metabolism
  • Cell Line
  • Escherichia coli O157 / genetics
  • Escherichia coli O157 / pathogenicity
  • Escherichia coli O157 / physiology*
  • Escherichia coli Proteins / physiology*
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / analysis
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / genetics
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / genetics
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / physiology*


  • Actins
  • Escherichia coli Proteins
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Tir protein, E coli
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases