Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
Cytotoxic necrotizing factor type 1 (CNF1) from strains of pathogenic Escherichia coli induces in human epithelial HEp-2 cells, a profound reorganization of the actin cytoskeleton into prominent stress fibres and membrane ruffles. We report here that this process is associated with induction of phagocytic-like activity. CNF1-treated cells acquired the ability to ingest latex beads as well as non-invasive bacteria such as Listeria innocua, which were taken as a model system. Uptake of bacteria was similar to pathogen-induced phagocytosis, since L. innocua transformed with DNA coding for the pore-forming toxin listeriolysln O behaved, with respect to intracellular growth, like the invasive, pathogenic species L. monocytogenes. Our results raise the possibility that, in vivo, pathogenic CNF1 -producing E. coli may invade epithelia by this novel induced phagocytic-like mechanism.
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