The Staphylococcus aureus cell wall-anchored adhesin ClfA binds to the very large blood circulating protein, von Willebrand factor (vWF) via vWF-binding protein (vWbp), a secreted protein that does not bind the cell wall covalently. Here we perform force spectroscopy studies on living bacteria to unravel the molecular mechanism of this interaction. We discover that the presence of all three binding partners leads to very high binding forces (2000 pN), largely outperforming other known ternary complexes involving adhesins. Strikingly, our experiments indicate that a direct interaction involving features of the dock, lock and latch mechanism must occur between ClfA and vWF to sustain the extreme tensile strength of the ternary complex. Our results support a previously undescribed mechanism whereby vWbp activates a direct, ultra-strong interaction between ClfA and vWF. This intriguing interaction represents a potential target for therapeutic interventions, including synthetic peptides inhibiting the ultra-strong interactions between ClfA and its ligands.

Staphylococcus aureus vWF-binding protein triggers a strong interaction between clumping factor A and host vWF

Giampiero Pietrocola
Writing – Original Draft Preparation
;
Pietro Speziale;
2021-01-01

Abstract

The Staphylococcus aureus cell wall-anchored adhesin ClfA binds to the very large blood circulating protein, von Willebrand factor (vWF) via vWF-binding protein (vWbp), a secreted protein that does not bind the cell wall covalently. Here we perform force spectroscopy studies on living bacteria to unravel the molecular mechanism of this interaction. We discover that the presence of all three binding partners leads to very high binding forces (2000 pN), largely outperforming other known ternary complexes involving adhesins. Strikingly, our experiments indicate that a direct interaction involving features of the dock, lock and latch mechanism must occur between ClfA and vWF to sustain the extreme tensile strength of the ternary complex. Our results support a previously undescribed mechanism whereby vWbp activates a direct, ultra-strong interaction between ClfA and vWF. This intriguing interaction represents a potential target for therapeutic interventions, including synthetic peptides inhibiting the ultra-strong interactions between ClfA and its ligands.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11571/1466270
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