Haemophilus influenzae Type f Hijacks Vitronectin Using Protein H To Resist Host Innate Immunity and Adhere to Pulmonary Epithelial Cells.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The incidence of invasive Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) disease has significantly decreased since the introduction of an efficient vaccine against Hib. However, in contrast to Hib, infections caused by H. influenzae serotype f (Hif) are emerging. We recently did a whole genome sequencing of an invasive Hif isolate, and reported that Hif interacts with factor H by expressing protein H (PH). In this study, upon screening with various human complement regulators, we revealed that PH is also a receptor for vitronectin (Vn), an abundant plasma protein that regulates the terminal pathway of the human complement system in addition to being a component of the extracellular matrix. Bacterial Vn binding was significantly reduced when the lph gene encoding PH was deleted in an invasive Hif isolate. The dissociation constant (KD) of the interaction between recombinant PH and Vn was 2.2 μM, as revealed by Biolayer interferometry. We found that PH has different regions for simultaneous interaction with both Vn and factor H, and that it recognized the C-terminal part of Vn (aa 352-362). Importantly, PH-dependent Vn binding resulted in better survival of the wild-type Hif or PH-expressing Escherichia coli when exposed to human serum. Finally, we observed that PH mediated an increased bacterial adherence to alveolar epithelial cells in the presence of Vn. In conclusion, our study reveals that PH most likely plays an important role in Hif pathogenesis by increasing serum resistance and adhesion to the airways.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Microbiology in the medical area
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5688-5695
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Publication categoryResearch

Related research output

Tamim, A-J., 2016, Lund: Lund University, Faculty of Medicine. 74 p.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (compilation)

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