Haemolysin II is a Bacillus cereus virulence factor that induces apoptosis of macrophages.
ABSTRACT Bacillus cereus is a Gram-positive spore-forming bacterium causing food poisoning and serious opportunistic infections. These infections are characterized by bacterial accumulation despite the recruitment of phagocytic cells. The precise mechanisms and the bacterial factors allowing B. cereus to circumvent host immune responses remain to be elucidated. We have previously shown that B. cereus induces macrophage cell death by an unknown mechanism. Here we identified the toxic component from the B. cereus supernatant. We report that Haemolysin II (HlyII) provokes macrophage cell death by apoptosis through its pore-forming activity. The HlyII-induced apoptotic pathway is caspase 3 and 8 dependent, thus most likely mediated by the death receptor pathway. Using insects and mice as in vivo models, we show that deletion of hlyII strongly reduces virulence. In addition, we show that after infection of Bombyx mori larvae, the immune cells are apoptotic, demonstrating that HlyII induces apoptosis of phagocytic cells in vivo. Altogether, our results clearly unravel HlyII as a novel virulence protein that induces apoptosis in phagocytic cells in vitro and in vivo.
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ABSTRACT: The Bacillus cereus sensu lato group contains diverse Gram-positive spore-forming bacteria that can cause gastrointestinal diseases and severe eye infections in humans. They have also been incriminated in a multitude of other severe, and frequently fatal, clinical infections, such as osteomyelitis, septicaemia, pneumonia, liver abscess and meningitis, particularly in immuno-compromised patients and preterm neonates. The pathogenic properties of this organism are mediated by the synergistic effects of a number of virulence products that promote intestinal cell destruction and/or resistance to the host immune system. This review focuses on the pore-forming haemolysins produced by B. cereus: haemolysin I (cereolysin O), haemolysin II, haemolysin III and haemolysin IV (CytK). Haemolysin I belongs to the cholesterol-dependent cytolysin (CDC) family whose best known members are listeriolysin O and perfringolysin O, produced by L. monocytogenes and C. perfringens respectively. HlyII and CytK are oligomeric ß-barrel pore-forming toxins related to the α-toxin of S. aureus or the ß-toxin of C. perfringens. The structure of haemolysin III, the least characterized haemolytic toxin from the B. cereus, group has not yet been determined.Toxins. 01/2013; 5(6):1119-39.
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ABSTRACT: Trypan blue is a dye that has been widely used for selective staining of dead tissues or cells. Here, we show that the pore-forming toxin HlyII of Bacillus cereus allows trypan blue staining of macrophage cells, despite the cells remaining viable and metabolically active. These findings suggest that the dye enters viable cells through the pores. To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration that trypan blue may enter viable cells. Consequently, the use of trypan blue staining as a marker of vital status should be interpreted with caution. The blue coloration does not necessarily indicate cell lysis, but may rather indicate pore formation in the cell membranes and more generally increased membrane permeability.PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(9):e22876. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Bacillus cereus (B. cereus) is a pathogen in opportunistic infections. Here we show that Bacillus cereus sphingomyelinase (Bc-SMase) is a virulence factor for septicemia. Clinical isolates produced large amounts of Bc-SMase, grew in vivo, and caused death among mice, but ATCC strains isolated from soil did not. A transformant of the ATCC strain carrying a recombinant plasmid containing the Bc-SMase gene grew in vivo, but that with the gene for E53A, which has little enzymatic activity, did not. Administration of an anti-Bc-SMase antibody and immunization against Bc-SMase prevented death caused by the clinical isolates, showing that Bc-SMase plays an important role in the diseases caused by B. cereus. Treatment of mouse macrophages with Bc-SMase resulted in a reduction in the generation of H(2)O(2) and phagocytosis of macrophages induced by peptidoglycan (PGN), but no effect on the release of TNF-α and little release of LDH under our experimental conditions. Confocal laser microscopy showed that the treatment of mouse macrophages with Bc-SMase resulted in the formation of ceramide-rich domains. A photobleaching analysis suggested that the cells treated with Bc-SMase exhibited a reduction in membrane fluidity. The results suggest that Bc-SMase is essential for the hydrolysis of SM in membranes, leading to a reduction in phagocytosis.PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(6):e38054. · 3.73 Impact Factor