The fibrinogen (Fg) binding MSCRAMM Clumping factor A (ClfA) from Staphylococcus aureus interacts with the C-terminal region of the fibrinogen (Fg) γ-chain. ClfA is the major virulence factor responsible for the observed clumping of S. aureus in blood plasma and has been implicated as a virulence factor in a mouse model of septic arthritis and in rabbit and rat models of infective endocarditis. We report here a high-resolution crystal structure of the ClfA ligand binding segment in complex with a synthetic peptide mimicking the binding site in Fg. The residues in Fg required for binding to ClfA are identified from this structure and from complementing biochemical studies. Furthermore, the platelet integrin αIIbβ 3 and ClfA bind to the same segment in the Fg γ-chain but the two cellular binding proteins recognize different residues in the common targeted Fg segment. Based on these differences, we have identified peptides that selectively antagonize the ClfA-Fg interaction. The ClfA-Fg binding mechanism is a variant of the "Dock, Lock and Latch" mechanism previously described for the Staphylococcus epidermidis SdrG-Fg interaction. The structural insights gained from analyzing the ClfANFg peptide complex and identifications of peptides that selectively recognize ClfA but not αIIbβ3 may allow the design of novel antistaphylococcal agents. Our results also suggest that different MSCRAMMs with similar structural organization may have originated from a common ancestor but have evolved to accommodate specific ligand structures.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology