Campylobacter jejuni FlpA binds fibronectin and is required for maximal host cell adherence

J Bacteriol. 2010 Jan;192(1):68-76. doi: 10.1128/JB.00969-09.


Campylobacter jejuni is one of the most frequent bacterial causes of food-borne gastrointestinal disease in developed countries. Previous work indicates that the binding of C. jejuni to human intestinal cells is crucial for host colonization and disease. Fibronectin (Fn), a major constituent of the extracellular matrix, is a approximately 250-kDa glycoprotein present at regions of cell-to-cell contact in the intestinal epithelium. Fn is composed of three types of repeating units: type I (approximately 45 amino acids), type II (approximately 60 amino acids), and type III (approximately 90 amino acids). The deduced amino acid sequence of C. jejuni flpA (Cj1279c) contains at least three Fn type III domains. Based on the presence of the Fn type III domains, we hypothesized that FlpA contributes to the binding of C. jejuni to human INT 407 epithelial cells and Fn. We assessed the contribution of FlpA in C. jejuni binding to host cells by in vitro adherence assays with a C. jejuni wild-type strain and a C. jejuni flpA mutant and binding of purified FlpA protein to Fn by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Adherence assays revealed the binding of the C. jejuni flpA mutant to INT 407 epithelial cells was significantly reduced compared with that for a wild-type strain. In addition, rabbit polyclonal serum generated against FlpA blocked C. jejuni adherence to INT 407 cells in a concentration-dependent manner. Binding of FlpA to Fn was found to be dose dependent and saturable by ELISA, demonstrating the specificity of the interaction. Based on these data, we conclude that FlpA mediates C. jejuni attachment to host epithelial cells via Fn binding.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacterial Adhesion / genetics
  • Bacterial Adhesion / physiology*
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Bacterial Proteins / physiology*
  • Campylobacter jejuni / genetics
  • Campylobacter jejuni / metabolism*
  • Cell Line
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Fibronectins / genetics
  • Fibronectins / metabolism*
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique, Indirect
  • Genetic Complementation Test
  • Humans
  • Protein Binding
  • Rabbits
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Transcription Factors / physiology*


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Fibronectins
  • FlpA protein, bacteria
  • Transcription Factors