Escherichia coli K1 is the most common Gram-negative organism causing meningitis, and its invasion of human brain microvascular enciothelial cells (HBMEC) is a prerequisite for penetration into the central nervous system. We have reported previously that cytotoxic necrotizing factor 1 (CNF1) contributes to E. coli K1 invasion of HBMEC and interacts with 37-kDa laminin receptor precursor (37LRP) of HBMEC, which is a precursor of 67-kDa laminin receptor (67LR). In the present study, we examined the role of 67LR in the CNF1-expressing E. coli K1 invasion of HBMEC. Immunofluorescence microscopy and ligand overlay assays showed that 67LR is present on the HBMEC membrane and interacts with CNF1 protein as well as the CDPGYIGSR laminin peptide. 67LR was up-regulated and clustered at the sites of E. coli K1 on HBMEC in a CNF1-dependent manner. Pretreatment of CNF1 + E. coli K1 with recombinant 37-kDa laminin receptor precursor reduced the invasion rate to the level of Δcnf1 mutant, and the invasion rate of CNF1 + E. coli K1 was enhanced in 67LR-overexpressing HBMEC, indicating 67LR is involved in the CNF1 + E. coli K1 invasion of HBMEC. Coimmunoprecipitation analysis showed that, upon incubation with CNF1 + E. coli K1 but not with Δcnf1 mutant, focal adhesion kinase and paxillin were recruited and associated with 67LR. When immobilized onto polystyrene beads, CNF1 was sufficient to induce internalization of coupled beads into HBMEC through interaction with 67LR. Taken together, this is the first demonstration that E. coli K1 invasion of HBMEC occurs through the ligand-receptor (CNF1-67LR) interaction, and 67LR promotes CNF1-expressing E. coli K1 internalization of HBMEC.
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