Despite extensive study, the molecular mechanisms that lead to multinucleation and cell enlargement (hypertrophy) remain poorly understood. Here, we show that a single bacterial virulence protein, EspF, from the human pathogen enteropathogenic E. coli induces extreme multi-nucleation in small intestinal epithelial cells. Ectopic expression of EspF induced cell-cell internalization events, presumably responsible for the enlarged multinucleated cells. These extreme phenotypes were dependent on a C-terminal polyproline-rich domain in EspF and not linked to the targeting of mitochondria or the nucleolus. The subversive functions of EspF may provide valuable insight into the molecular mechanisms that mediate cell fusion, multinucleation and cell hypertrophy.
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 2013|