Many pathogenic bacteria specifically bind to components of the extracellular matrix. In this study, we report the specific association of Staphylococcus aureus with elastin, a major structural component of elastic tissue. Competition assays in which the binding of radiolabeled tropoelastin was inhibited by excess unlabeled elastin peptides, but not by other proteins, established the specificity of the interaction. Kinetic studies showed that tropoelastin binding to the bacteria was rapid and saturable. Scatchard analysis of the equilibrium binding data indicated the presence of a single class of high affinity binding sites (K(D)~ 4-7 nM) with approximately 1000 sites per organism. Protease susceptibility suggested that the elastin binding moiety on S. aureus was a protein, which was confirmed by the isolation of a 25-kDa elastin-binding protein from S. aureus extracts through affinity chromatography. Using a truncated form of tropoelastin, the bacterial binding domain on elastin was mapped to a 30-kDa fragment at the amino end of the molecule. Although the precise amino acid sequence recognized by the staphylococcal elastin receptor has not been characterized, it is clearly different from the region of tropoelastin that specifies binding to mammalian elastin receptors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23399-23406
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number34
StatePublished - 1991


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