Pathogenic bacteria attach to human fibronectin through a tandem beta-zipper. Academic Article uri icon


  • Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes, two important human pathogens, target host fibronectin (Fn) in their adhesion to and invasion of host cells. Fibronectin-binding proteins (FnBPs), anchored in the bacterial cell wall, have multiple Fn-binding repeats in an unfolded region of the protein. The bacterium-binding site in the amino-terminal domain (1-5F1) of Fn contains five sequential Fn type 1 (F1) modules. Here we show the structure of a streptococcal (S. dysgalactiae) FnBP peptide (B3) in complex with the module pair 1F12F1. This identifies 1F1- and 2F1-binding motifs in B3 that form additional antiparallel beta-strands on sequential F1 modules-the first example of a tandem beta-zipper. Sequence analyses of larger regions of FnBPs from S. pyogenes and S. aureus reveal a repeating pattern of F1-binding motifs that match the pattern of F1 modules in 1-5F1 of Fn. In the process of Fn-mediated invasion of host cells, therefore, the bacterial proteins seem to exploit the modular structure of Fn by forming extended tandem beta-zippers. This work is a vital step forward in explaining the full mechanism of the integrin-dependent FnBP-mediated invasion of host cells.

published proceedings

  • Nature

altmetric score

  • 4

author list (cited authors)

  • Schwarz-Linek, U., Werner, J. M., Pickford, A. R., Gurusiddappa, S., Kim, J. H., Pilka, E. S., ... Potts, J. R.

citation count

  • 305

complete list of authors

  • Schwarz-Linek, Ulrich||Werner, Jörn M||Pickford, Andrew R||Gurusiddappa, Sivashankarappa||Kim, Jung Hwa||Pilka, Ewa S||Briggs, John AG||Gough, T Sebastian||Höök, Magnus||Campbell, Iain D||Potts, Jennifer R

publication date

  • January 2003

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