Rac1, RhoA, and Cdc42 participate in HeLa cell invasion by group B streptococcus

Carey Ann D. Burnham, Sandra E. Shokoples, Gregory J. Tyrrell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


The group B streptococcus (GBS) is an important human pathogen with the ability to cause invasive disease. To do so, the bacteria must invade host cells. It has been well documented that GBS are able to invade a variety of nonphagocytic host cell types, and this process is thought to involve a number of pathogen-host cell interactions. While some of the molecular aspects of the GBS-host cell invasion process have been characterized, many events still remain unclear. The objective of this investigation was to evaluate the role of the Rho-family GTPases Rac, Rho, and Cdc42 in GBS invasion into epithelial cells. The epithelial cell invasion process was modeled using HeLa 229 cell culture. Treatment of HeLa cells with 10 μM compactin, a pan-GTPase inhibitor, abolished GBS internalization, suggesting that GTPases are involved in the GBS invasion process. The addition of Toxin B or exoenzyme C3 to HeLa cells before GBS infection reduced invasion by 50%, further suggesting that the Rho-family GTPases are involved in GBS entry. Examining invasion of GBS into HeLa cells with altered genetic backgrounds was used to confirm these findings; GBS invasion into HeLa cells transiently transfected with dominant negative Rac1, Cdc42, or RhoA reduced invasion by 75%, 51%, and 42%, respectively. Results of this study suggest that the Rho-family GTPases are required for efficient invasion of HeLa cells by GBS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-14
Number of pages7
JournalFEMS Microbiology Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2007


  • Actin
  • Cdc42
  • Group B streptococcus
  • Invasion
  • Rac
  • Rho


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