Haemophilus influenzae is a human-specific gram-negative coccobacillus that causes a variety of human infections ranging from localized respiratory infections to invasive diseases. Hsf is the major nonpilus adhesin in encapsulated strains of H. influenzae and belongs to the trimeric autotransporter family of proteins. The Hsf protein contains two highly homologous binding domains, designated HsfBD1 and HsfBD2. In this study we characterized the differential binding properties of HsfBD1 and HsfBD2. In assays using HeLa cells, we found that bacteria expressing either full-length Hsf or HsfBD1 by itself adhered at high levels, while bacteria expressing HsfBD2 by itself adhered at low levels. Immunofluorescence microscopy and a cellular enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay using purified proteins revealed that the binding affinity was significantly higher for HsfBD1 than for HsfBD2. Purified HsfBD1 was able to completely block adherence by bacteria expressing either HsfBD1 or HsfBD2, while purified HsfBD2 was able to block adherence by bacteria expressing HsfBD2 but had minimal activity against bacteria expressing HsfBD1. Conversion of the residue at position 1935 in the HsfBD1 binding pocket from Asp to Glu resulted in HsfBD2-like binding properties, and conversion of the residue at position 569 in the HsfBD2 binding pocket from Glu to Asp resulted in HsfBD1-like binding properties, as assessed by adherence assays with recombinant bacteria and by immunofluorescence microscopy with purified proteins. This work demonstrates the critical role of a single amino acid in the core of the binding pocket in determining the relative affinities of the HsfBD1 and HsfBD2 binding domains.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology