Streptococcus pneumoniae binds to host GAPDH on dying lung epithelial cells worsening secondary infection following influenza

Academic Article


  • Streptococcus pneumoniae (Spn) alone and during co-infection with influenza A virus (IAV) can result in severe pneumonia with mortality. Pneumococcal surface protein A (PspA) is an established virulence factor required for Spn evasion of lactoferricin and C-reactive protein-activated complement-mediated killing. Herein, we show that PspA functions as an adhesin to dying host cells. We demonstrate that PspA binds to host-derived glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) bound to outward-flipped phosphatidylserine residues on dying host cells. PspA-mediated adhesion was to apoptotic, pyroptotic, and necroptotic cells, but not healthy lung cells. Using isogenic mutants of Spn, we show that PspA-GAPDH-mediated binding to lung cells increases pneumococcal localization in the lower airway, and this is enhanced as a result of pneumolysin exposure or co-infection with IAV. PspA-mediated binding to GAPDH requires amino acids 230–281 in its α-helical domain with intratracheal inoculation of this PspA fragment alongside the bacteria reducing disease severity in an IAV/Spn pneumonia model.
  • Published In

  • Cell Reports  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Park SS; Gonzalez-Juarbe N; Riegler AN; Im H; Hale Y; Platt MP; Croney C; Briles DE; Orihuela CJ
  • Volume

  • 35
  • Issue

  • 11