The interaction between bacteria and fibronectin is believed to play an important role in the pathogenicity of clinically important Gram-positive cocci. In the present study, we identified a gene encoding a predicted fibronectin-binding protein of Enterococcus faecium (fnm), a homologue of Streptococcus pneumoniae pavA, in the genomes of E. faecium strain TX82 and all other sequenced E. faecium isolates. Full-length recombinant Fnm from strain TX82 bound to immobilized fibronectin in a concentration- dependent manner and also appeared to bind collagen type V and laminin, but not other proteins, such as transferrin, heparin, bovine serum albumin, mucin, or collagen IV. We demonstrated that the N-terminal fragment of Fnm is required for full fibronectin binding, since truncation of this region caused a 2.4-fold decrease (P < 0.05) in the adhesion of E. faecium TX82 to fibronectin. Deletion of fnm resulted in a significant reduction (P < 0.001) in the ability of the mutant, TX6128, to bind fibronectin relative to that of the wild-type strain; in situ reconstitution of fnm in the deletion mutant strain restored adherence. In addition, the δfnm mutant was highly attenuated relative to TX82 (P≤0.0001) in a mixed-inoculum rat endocarditis model. Taken together, these results demonstrate that Fnm affects the adherence of E. faecium to fibronectin and is important in the pathogenesis of experimental endocarditis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases