Effector translocation is central to the virulence of many bacterial pathogens, including Streptococcus pyogenes, which utilizes the cholesterol-dependent cytolysin Streptolysin O (SLO) to translocate the NAD+ glycohydrolase SPN into host cells during infection. SLO's translocation activity does not require host cell membrane cholesterol or pore formation by SLO, yet SLO does form pores during infection via a cholesterol-dependent mechanism. Although cholesterol was considered the primary receptor for SLO, SLO's membrane-binding domain also encodes a putative carbohydrate-binding site, implicating a potential glycan receptor in binding and pore formation. Analysis of carbohydrate-binding site SLO mutants and carbohydrate-defective cell lines revealed that glycan recognition is involved in SLO's pore formation pathway and is an essential step when SLO is secreted by non-adherent bacteria, as occurs during lysis of erythrocytes. However, SLO also recognizes host cell membranes via a second mechanism when secreted from adherent bacteria, which requires co-secretion of SPN but not glycan binding by SLO. This SPN-mediated membrane binding of SLO correlates with SPN translocation, and requires SPN's non-enzymatic domain, which is predicted to adopt the structure of a carbohydrate-binding module. SPN-dependent membrane binding also promotes pore formation by SLO, demonstrating that pore formation can occur by distinct pathways during infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1036-1050
Number of pages15
JournalMolecular Microbiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015


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