James Crowe
Faculty Member
Last active: 3/31/2019

The human polymeric immunoglobulin receptor facilitates invasion of epithelial cells by Streptococcus pneumoniae in a strain-specific and cell type-specific manner.

Brock SC, McGraw PA, Wright PF, Crowe JE
Infect Immun. 2002 70 (9): 5091-5

PMID: 12183558 · PMCID: PMC128237 · DOI:10.1128/iai.70.9.5091-5095.2002

Streptococcus pneumoniae is a gram-positive bacterial pathogen that causes invasive life-threatening disease worldwide. This organism also commonly colonizes the upper respiratory epithelium in an asymptomatic fashion. To invade, this pathogen must traverse the respiratory epithelial barrier, allowing it to cause disease locally or disseminate hematogenously throughout the body. Previous work has demonstrated that S. pneumoniae choline-binding protein A, a pneumococcal surface protein, interacts specifically with the human polymeric immunoglobulin receptor, which is expressed by cells in the respiratory epithelium. Choline-binding protein A is required for efficient colonization of the nasopharynx in vivo. Additionally, a recent study showed that the R6x laboratory strain of S. pneumoniae invades a human pharyngeal cell line in a human polymeric immunoglobulin receptor-dependent manner. These findings raised the possibility that the interaction between choline-binding protein A and human polymeric immunoglobulin receptor may be a key determinant of S. pneumoniae pathogenesis. However, the strain used in prior invasion studies, R6x, is an unencapsulated, nonpathogenic strain. In the present study we determined the relative ability of strain R6x or pathogenic strains to invade a variety of human polymeric immunoglobulin receptor-expressing epithelial cell lines. The results of this work suggest that human polymeric immunoglobulin receptor-dependent enhanced invasion of epithelial cells by S. pneumoniae is a limited phenomenon that occurs in a strain-specific and cell type-specific manner.

MeSH Terms (8)

Cell Line Epithelial Cells Humans Pneumococcal Infections Receptors, Polymeric Immunoglobulin Species Specificity Staphylococcal Protein A Streptococcus pneumoniae

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