The Moraxella catarrhalis Autotransporter McaP Is a Conserved Surface Protein That Mediates Adherence to Human Epithelial Cells through Its N-Terminal Passenger Domain Article (Web of Science)


  • ABSTRACT The protein McaP was previously shown to be an adhesin expressed by the Moraxella catarrhalis strain O35E, which also displays esterase and phospholipase B activities (J. M. Timpe et al., Infect. Immun. 71:4341-4350, 2003). In the present study, sequence analysis suggests that McaP is a conventional autotransporter protein that contains a 12-stranded β-barrel transporter module (amino acids [aa] 383 to 650) linked to a surface-exposed passenger domain exhibiting lipolytic activity (aa 62 to 330). An in-frame deletion removing most of this predicted N-terminal passenger domain was engineered, and Escherichia coli expressing the truncated McaP protein exhibited greatly reduced adherence to A549 human lung epithelial cells compared to E. coli expressing wild-type McaP. Site-directed mutagenesis of a serine residue at position 62 of McaP, predicted to be important for the lipolytic activity of the protein, resulted in loss of hydrolysis of p- nitrophenyl ester of caproate. E. coli expressing this mutated McaP, however, adhered to A549 monolayers at levels greater than recombinant bacteria expressing the wild-type adhesin. These results indicate that the predicted passenger domain of McaP is involved in both the binding and the lipolytic activity of the molecule and demonstrate that the adhesive properties of McaP do not require its lipolytic activity. Sequence analysis of mcaP from eight Moraxella catarrhalis strains revealed that the gene product is highly conserved at the amino acid level (98 to 100% identity), and Western blot analysis demonstrated that a panel of 16 isolates all express McaP. Flow cytometry experiments using antibodies raised against various portions of McaP indicated that its predicted passenger domain as well as transporter module contain surface-exposed epitopes. In addition to binding to the surface of intact bacteria, these antibodies were found to decrease adherence of M. catarrhalis to A549 human lung cells by up to 47% and to reduce binding of recombinant E. coli expressing McaP by 98%. These results suggest that McaP should be considered as a potential vaccine antigen.


  • Lipski, Serena L.
  • Akimana, Christine
  • Timpe, Jennifer M.
  • Wooten, Ronald M
  • Lafontaine, Eric R.

publication date

  • 2007

published in

number of pages

  • 10

start page

  • 314

end page

  • 324


  • 75


  • 1