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Enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) is a human intestinal pathogen that causes hemorrhagic colitis and hemolytic uremic syndrome. No vaccines or specific therapies are currently available to prevent or treat these infections. EHEC tightly attaches to the intestinal epithelium by injecting the intimin receptor Tir into the host cell via a type III secretion system (T3SS). In this project, we identified a camelid single domain antibody (nanobody), named TD4, that recognizes a conserved Tir epitope overlapping the binding site of its natural ligand intimin with high affinity and stability. We show that TD4 inhibits attachment of EHEC to cultured human HeLa cells by preventing Tir clustering by intimin, activation of downstream actin polymerization and pedestal formation. Furthermore, we demonstrate that TD4 significantly reduces EHEC adherence to human colonic mucosa in in vitro organ cultures. Altogether, these results suggest that nanobody-based therapies hold potential in the development of much needed treatment and prevention strategies against EHEC infection.


David Ruano-Gallego, Daniel A Yara, Lorenza Di Ianni, Gad Frankel, Stephanie Schüller, Luis Ángel Fernández. A nanobody targeting the translocated intimin receptor inhibits the attachment of enterohemorrhagic E. coli to human colonic mucosa. PLoS pathogens. 2019 Aug;15(8):e1008031

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PMID: 31465434

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