The attachment of bacteria to host cells and tissues, and their subsequent invasion and dissemination are key processes during pathogenesis. In this issue of Molecular Microbiology, Jensch and co-workers provide further molecular insight into these events during infection with the Gram positive bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae. Their characterization of pneumococcal adherence and virulence factor B (PavB), a bacterial surface protein with orthologues in other streptococci, show that it binds to the extracellar matrix components fibronection and plasminogen by virtue of repetitive sequences-designated streptococcal surface repeats. In mice, a pavB mutant showed reduced nasopharyngeal colonization and was attenuated in a lung infection model. As discussed here in the context of the pneumococcus, the study of PavB highlights the central role during microbal pathogenesis of targetting the extracellular matrix by so-called microbial surface components recognizing adhesive matrix molecules (MSCRAMMs).
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology