[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Coxiella burnetii and Legionella pneumophila are evolutionarily related pathogens with different intracellular infection strategies. C. burnetii persists within and is transmitted by mammalian hosts, whereas, L. pneumophila is found primarily in the environment associated with protozoan hosts. Although a type IV secretion system encoded by the defect in organelle trafficking (dot) and intracellular multiplication (icm) genes is a virulence determinant that remains highly conserved in both bacteria, the two pathogens encode a different array of effector proteins that are delivered into host cells by the Dot/Icm machinery. This difference suggests that adaptations to evolutionarily distinct hosts may be reflected in the effector protein repertoires displayed by these two pathogens. Here we provide evidence in support of this hypothesis. We show that a unique C. burnetii effector from the ankyrin repeat (Ank) family called AnkG interferes with the mammalian apoptosis pathway. AnkG was found to interact with the host protein gC1qR (p32). Either the addition of AnkG to the repertoire of L. pneumophila effector proteins or the silencing of p32 in mouse dendritic cells resulted in a gain of function that allowed intracellular replication of L. pneumophila in these normally restrictive mammalian host cells by preventing rapid pathogen-induced apoptosis. These data indicate that p32 regulates pathogen-induced apoptosis and that AnkG functions to block this pathway. Thus, emergence of an effector protein that interferes with a proapoptotic signaling pathway directed against intracellular bacteria correlates with adaptation of a pathogen to mammalian hosts.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 10/2010; 107(44):18997-9001. · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Dendritic cells (DCs) are specialized phagocytes that internalize exogenous antigens and microbes at peripheral sites, and then migrate to lymphatic organs to display foreign peptides to naïve T cells. There are several examples where DCs have been shown to be more efficient at restricting the intracellular replication of pathogens compared to macrophages, a property that could prevent DCs from enhancing pathogen dissemination. To understand DC responses to pathogens, we investigated the mechanisms by which mouse DCs are able to restrict replication of the intracellular pathogen Legionella pneumophila. We show that both DCs and macrophages have the ability to interfere with L. pneumophila replication through a cell death pathway mediated by caspase-1 and Naip5. L. pneumophila that avoided Naip5-dependent responses, however, showed robust replication in macrophages but remained unable to replicate in DCs. Apoptotic cell death mediated by caspase-3 was found to occur much earlier in DCs following infection by L. pneumophila compared to macrophages infected similarly. Eliminating the pro-apoptotic proteins Bax and Bak or overproducing the anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2 were both found to restore L. pneumophila replication in DCs. Thus, DCs have a microbial response pathway that rapidly activates apoptosis to limit pathogen replication.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The immune system must discriminate between pathogenic and nonpathogenic microbes in order to initiate an appropriate response. Toll-like receptors (TLRs) detect microbial components common to both pathogenic and nonpathogenic bacteria, whereas Nod-like receptors (NLRs) sense microbial components introduced into the host cytosol by the specialized secretion systems or pore-forming toxins of bacterial pathogens. The host signaling pathways that respond to bacterial secretion systems remain poorly understood. Infection with the pathogen Legionella pneumophila, which utilizes a type IV secretion system (T4SS), induced an increased proinflammatory cytokine response compared to avirulent bacteria in which the T4SS was inactivated. This enhanced response involved NF-kappaB activation by TLR signaling as well as Nod1 and Nod2 detection of type IV secretion. Furthermore, a TLR- and RIP2-independent pathway leading to p38 and SAPK/JNK MAPK activation was found to play an equally important role in the host response to virulent L. pneumophila. Activation of this MAPK pathway was T4SS-dependent and coordinated with TLR signaling to mount a robust proinflammatory cytokine response to virulent L. pneumophila. These findings define a previously uncharacterized host response to bacterial type IV secretion that activates MAPK signaling and demonstrate that coincident detection of multiple bacterial components enables immune discrimination between virulent and avirulent bacteria.