High-Throughput Chip Assay for Investigating Escherichia coli Interaction with the Blood-Brain Barrier Using Microbial and Human Proteome Microarrays (Dual-Microarray Technology)

Anal Chem. 2018 Sep 18;90(18):10958-10966. doi: 10.1021/acs.analchem.8b02513. Epub 2018 Aug 24.


Bacterial meningitis in neonates and infants is an acute lethal disease and occurs in response to microbial exploitation of the blood-brain barrier (BBB), resulting in the intracranial inflammation. Several pathogens, such as Escherichia coli ( E. coli), can cause this devastating disease; however, the underlying molecular mechanisms by which these pathogens exploit the BBB remain incompletely understood. To identify important players on both the pathogen and host sides that govern the E. coli-BBB cell interactions, we took advantage of the E. coli and human proteome microarrays (i.e., HuProt) as an unbiased, proteome-wide tool for identification of important players on both sides. Using the E. coli proteome microarrays, we developed a unique high throughput chip-based cell probing assay to probe with fluorescent live human brain microvascular endothelial cells (HBMEC, which constitute the BBB). We identified several transmembrane proteins, which effectively bound to live HBMEC. We focused on YojI protein for further study. By probing the HuProt arrays with YojI, interferon-alpha receptor (IFNAR2) was identified as one of its binding proteins. The importance of YojI and IFNAR2 involved in E. coli-HBMEC interactions was characterized using the YojI knockout bacteria and IFNAR2-knock down HBMEC and further confirmed by E. coli binding assay in HBMEC. This study represents a new paradigm (dual-microarray technology) that enables rapid, unbiased discovery of both pathogen and host players that are involved in pathogen-host interactions for human infectious diseases in a high throughput manner.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters / metabolism*
  • Blood-Brain Barrier / metabolism
  • Blood-Brain Barrier / microbiology*
  • Blood-Brain Barrier / pathology
  • Cell Line
  • Equipment Design
  • Escherichia coli / physiology*
  • Escherichia coli Infections / metabolism*
  • Escherichia coli Infections / microbiology
  • Escherichia coli Infections / pathology
  • Escherichia coli Proteins / metabolism*
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions*
  • Humans
  • Lab-On-A-Chip Devices
  • Proteomics / instrumentation*
  • Receptor, Interferon alpha-beta / metabolism*


  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters
  • Escherichia coli Proteins
  • IFNAR2 protein, human
  • YojI protein, E coli
  • Receptor, Interferon alpha-beta