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A single genetic locus encoded by Yersinia pseudotuberculosis permits invasion of cultured animal cells by Escherichia coli K-12


For many species of pathogenic bacteria, invasion and survival within animal cells is central to establishing a successful host–parasite relationship1–3. Localization within host cells protects the microorganism from host defences4, or permits it to cross epithelial barriers and subsequently become systemically distributed5. The precise mechanisms that permit entry of bacteria into host tissues are unclear6, therefore we have been studying the invasion of epithelial cells by Yersinia pseudotuberculosis7,8. As a first step towards identifying the factors required for this process, we report here the identification of a single genetic locus from this organism that is sufficient to convert the innocuous Escherichia coli K-12 strain into an organism capable of invading cultured animal cells.

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Isberg, R., Falkow, S. A single genetic locus encoded by Yersinia pseudotuberculosis permits invasion of cultured animal cells by Escherichia coli K-12. Nature 317, 262–264 (1985).

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