BipA: a tyrosine-phosphorylated GTPase that mediates interactions between enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) and epithelial cells

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We report the functional characterization of BipA, a GTPase that undergoes tyrosine phosphorylation in an enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) strain. BipA− mutants adhere to cultured epithelial cells but fail to trigger the characteristic cytoskeletal rearrangements found in cells infected with wild-type EPEC. In contrast, increased expression of BipA enhances actin remodelling and results in the hyperformation of pseudopods. BipA appears to be the first example of a new class of virulence regulator, as it also controls flagella-mediated cell motility and resistance to the antibacterial effects of a human host defence protein. Its striking sequence similarity to ribosome-binding elongation factors suggests that it uses a novel mechanism to modulate gene expression.

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