The InlB protein of Listeria monocytogenes is sufficient to promote entry into mammalian cells

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InlB is one of the two Listeria monocytogenes invasion proteins required for bacterial entry into mammalian cells. Entry into human epithelial cells such as Caco-2 requires InIA, whereas InlB is needed for entry into cultured hepatocytes and some epithelial or fibroblast cell lines such as Vero, HEp-2 and HeLa cells. InlB-mediated entry requires tyrosine phosphorylation, cytoskeletal rearrangements and activation of the host protein phosphoinositide (PI) 3-kinase, probably in response to engagement of a receptor. In this study, we demonstrate for the first time that InlB is sufficient to promote internalization. Indeed, coating of normally non-invasive bacteria or inert latex beads with InlB leads to internalization into mammalian cells. In addition, a soluble form of InlB also appears to promote uptake of non-invasive bacteria, albeit at a very low level. Similar to entry of L. monocytogenes, uptake of InlB-coated beads required tyrosine phosphorylation in the host cell, PI 3-kinase activity and cytoskeletal reorganization. Taken together, these data indicate that InlB is sufficient for entry of L. monocytogenes into host cells and suggest that this protein is an effector of host cell signalling pathways.

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