Fibronectin is a multidomain glycoprotein ubiquitously detected in extracellular fluids and matrices of a variety of animal and human tissues where it functions as a key link between matrices and cells. Fibronectin has also emerged as the target for a large number of microorganisms, particularly bacteria. There are clear indications that the binding of microorganism' receptors to fibronectin promotes attachment to and infection of host cells. Each bacterium may use different receptors which recognize specific fibronectin domains, mostly the N-terminal domain and the central cell-binding domain. In many cases, fibronectin receptors have actions over and above that of simple adhesion: In fact, adhesion is often the prerequisite for invasion and internalization of microorganisms in the cells of colonized tissues. This review updates the current understanding of fibronectin receptors of several microorganisms with emphasis on their biochemical and structural properties and the role they can play in the onset and progression of host infection diseases. Furthermore, we describe the antigenic profile and discuss the possibility of designing adhesion inhibitors based on the structure of the fibronectin-binding site in the receptor or the receptor-binding site in fibronectin.
- extracellular matrix
- virulence factor