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The Serine Protease Pic From Enteroaggregative Escherichia coli Mediates Immune Evasion by the Direct Cleavage of Complement Proteins



The Serine Protease Pic From Enteroaggregative Escherichia coli Mediates Immune Evasion by the Direct Cleavage of Complement Proteins



Journal of Infectious Diseases 212(1): 106-115



Enteroaggregative and uropathogenic Escherichia coli, Shigella flexneri 2a, and the hybrid enteroaggregative/Shiga toxin-producing E. coli strain (O104:H4) are important pathogens responsible for intestinal and urinary tract infections, as well as sepsis and hemolytic uremic syndrome. They have in common the production of a serine protease called Pic. Several biological roles for Pic have been described, including protection of E. coli DH5α from complement-mediated killing. Hereby we showed that Pic significantly reduces complement activation by all 3 pathways. Pic cleaves purified C3/C3b and other proteins from the classic and lectin pathways, such as C4 and C2. Cleavage fragments of C3, C4, and C2 were also observed with HB101(pPic1) culture supernatants, and C3 cleavage sites were mapped by fluorescence resonance energy transfer peptides. Experiments using human serum as a source of complement proteins confirmed Pic proteolytic activity on these proteins. Furthermore, Pic works synergistically with the human complement regulators factor I and factor H, promoting inactivation of C3b. In the presence of both regulators, further degradation of C3 α' chain was observed. Therefore, Pic may contribute to immune evasion of E. coli and S. flexneri, favoring invasiveness and increasing the severity of the disorders caused by these pathogens.

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Accession: 059031633

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 25583166

DOI: 10.1093/infdis/jiv013


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