Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli induces modification of the focal adhesions of infected host cells

Yulia Shifrin, Jochen Kirschner, Benjamin Geiger, Ilan Rosenshine*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) is a human-specific pathogen that causes severe diarrhoea in young children. The disease involves intimate interaction between the pathogen and the brush border of enterocytes. During infection, EPEC uses a type III secretion system (TTSS) to inject several proteins into the infected cells, and these effector proteins modify specific processes in the host cell. We show that, upon infection, EPEC induces detachment of the infected host cells from the substratum, modification of focal adhesions (FA) in the infected cells and specific dephosphorylation of focal adhesion kinase (FAK). We also show that EPEC-induced cell detachment is dependent on FAK expression by the infected cells. Finally, we demonstrate that cell detachment, FA modification and FAK dephosphorylation are dependent on functional TTSS in the infecting EPEC. These results suggest that EPEC is using its TTSS to inject protein(s) into the infected cells, which can induce FAK dephosphorylation, as well as FAK-dependent FA modification and cell detachment. These processes are specific and probably play an important role in EPEC virulence.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)235-243
Number of pages9
JournalCellular Microbiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2002


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