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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Localization of uroplakin Ia, the urothelial receptor for bacterial adhesin FimH, on the six inner domains of the 16 nm urothelial plaque particle.

The binding of uropathogenic Escherichia coli to the urothelial surface is a critical initial event for establishing urinary tract infection, because it prevents the bacteria from being removed by micturition and it triggers bacterial invasion as well as host cell defense. This binding is mediated by the FimH adhesin located at the tip of the bacterial type 1-fimbrium and its urothelial receptor, uroplakin Ia (UPIa). To localize the UPIa receptor on the 16 nm particles that form two-dimensional crystals of asymmetric unit membrane (AUM) covering >90 % of the apical urothelial surface, we constructed a 15 A resolution 3-D model of the mouse 16 nm AUM particle by negative staining and electron crystallography. Similar to previous lower-resolution models of bovine and pig AUM particles, the mouse 16 nm AUM particle consists of six inner and six outer domains that are interconnected to form a twisted ribbon-like structure. Treatment of urothelial plaques with 0.02-0.1 % (v/v) Triton X-100 allowed the stain to penetrate into the membrane, revealing parts of the uroplakin transmembrane moiety with an overall diameter of 14 nm, which was much bigger than the 11 nm value determined earlier by quick-freeze deep-etch. Atomic force microscopy of native, unfixed mouse and bovine urothelial plaques confirmed the overall structure of the luminal 16 nm AUM particle that was raised by 6.5 nm above the luminal membrane surface and, in addition, revealed a circular, 0.5 nm high, cytoplasmic protrusion of approximately 14 nm diameter. Finally, a difference map calculated from the mouse urothelial plaque images collected in the presence and absence of recombinant bacterial FimH/FimC complex revealed the selective binding of FimH to the six inner domains of the 16 nm AUM particle. These results indicate that the 16 nm AUM particle is anchored by a approximately 14 nm diameter transmembrane stalk, and suggest that bacterial binding to UPIa that resides within the six inner domains of the 16 nm AUM particle may preferentially trigger transmembrane signaling involved in bacterial invasion and host cell defense.[1]


  1. Localization of uroplakin Ia, the urothelial receptor for bacterial adhesin FimH, on the six inner domains of the 16 nm urothelial plaque particle. Min, G., Stolz, M., Zhou, G., Liang, F., Sebbel, P., Stoffler, D., Glockshuber, R., Sun, T.T., Aebi, U., Kong, X.P. J. Mol. Biol. (2002) [Pubmed]
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