Low-efficiency (macro-)pinocytic internalization of non-pathogenic Escherichia coli into HEp-2 cells

A. P. Sinai, S. F. Hayes, P. L.C. Small, P. M. Bavoil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


HEp-2 cells internalize non-pathogenic Escherichia coli bacteria by a low-efficiency internalization mechanism which is upregulated in Pho-derepressed strains (as shown by Sinai and Bavoil in 1993), and is independent of microfilament integrity but requires functional microtubules. Here, we further characterize the microtubule requirement of this pathway using various effectors of microtubule integrity and function. Furthermore, we show that internalization is enhanced upon treatment with monodansylcadaverine, a specific inhibitor of receptor mediated endocytosis, and is insensitive to brefeldin A, which promotes the microtubule-dependent reorganization of the endosome. An assay system is also described to directly evaluate the contribution of pinocytosis to this pathway based on the ability of the bacteria to cointernalize and consequently colocalize with the fluid-phase marker, Texas-red-conjugated dextran (TRD). Using this assay, Hoescht-stained bacteria were observed in TRD-containing vesicles in numbers that are consistent with their observed internalization rate. Overall, these data are strongly supportive of the existence of a low-efficiency macropinocytic mechanism of entry for these non-pathogenic bacteria. Moreover, the observed requirements for host tyrosine kinase and protein kinase C activities suggest that it is inducible.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)617-631
Number of pages15
JournalResearch in Microbiology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Oct 1995

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Thisw ork was supported in part by of Health grants AI26280 to P.M.B. P.L.C.S.. P.M.B. is a recipient of NIH DevelopmentA ward A101057.


  • Endocytosis, Macropinocytosis, Microtubule, Escherichia coli
  • Endosomes, Cytoskeleton

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology


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