[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Within five minutes of macrophage infection by Legionella pneumophila, the bacterium responsible for Legionnaires' disease, elements of the rough endoplasmic reticulum (RER) and mitochondria attach to the surface of the bacteria-enclosed phagosome. Connecting these abutting membranes are tiny hairs, which are frequently periodic like the rungs of a ladder. These connections are stable and of high affinity - phagosomes from infected macrophages remain connected to the ER and mitochondria (as they were in situ) even after infected macrophages are homogenized. Thin sections through the plasma and phagosomal membranes show that the phagosomal membrane is thicker (72+/-2 A) than the ER and mitochondrial membranes (60+/-2 A), presumably owing to the lack of cholesterol, sphingolipids and glycolipids in the ER. Interestingly, within 15 minutes of infection, the phagosomal membrane changes thickness to resemble that of the attached ER vesicles. Only later (e.g. after six hours) does the ER-phagosome association become less frequent. Instead ribosomes stud the former phagosomal membrane and L. pneumophila reside directly in the rough ER. Examination of phagosomes of various L. pneumophila mutants suggests that this membrane conversion is a four-stage process used by L. pneumophila to establish itself in the RER and to survive intracellularly. But what is particularly interesting is that L. pneumophila is exploiting a poorly characterized naturally occurring cellular process.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have previously isolated 32 mutants of Legionella pneumophila that are defective in the infection of mammalian cells but not protozoa. The mutated loci have been designated macrophage-specific infectivity (mil) loci. In this study we characterized the mil mutant GK11. This mutant was incapable of growth within U937 macrophage-like cells and WI-26 alveolar epithelial cells. This defect in intracellular replication correlated with a defect in cytopathogenicity to these cells. Sequence analysis of the GK11 locus revealed it to be highly similar to rep helicase genes of other bacteria. Since helicase mutants of Escherichia coli are hypersensitive to thymine starvation, we examined the sensitivity of GK11 to thymineless death (TLD). In the absence of thymine and thymidine, mutant GK11 did not undergo TLD but was defective for in vitro growth, and the defect was partially restored when these compounds were added to the growth medium. In addition, supplementation with thymidine or thymine partially restored the ability of GK11 to grow within and kill U937 macrophage-like cells. The data suggested that the low levels of thymine or thymidine in the L. pneumophila phagosome contributed to the defect of GK11 within macrophages. Using confocal laser scanning microscopy, we determined the effect of the mutation in the Rep helicase homologue on the intracellular trafficking of GK11 within macrophages. In contrast to the wild-type strain, phagosomes harboring GK11 colocalized with several late endosomal/lysosomal markers, including LAMP-1, LAMP-2, and cathepsin D. In addition, only 50% of the GK11 phagosomes colocalized with the endoplasmic reticulum marker BiP 4 h postinfection. Colocalization of BiP with GK11 phagosomes was absent 6 h postinfection, while 90% of the wild-type phagosomes colocalized with this marker at both time points. We propose that the low level of thymine within the L. pneumophila phagosome in combination with simultaneous exposure to multiple stress stimuli results in deleterious mutations that cannot be repaired in the rep helicase homologue mutant, rendering it defective in intracellular replication.
Infection and Immunity 01/2001; 68(12):6970-8. · 4.07 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: It is becoming apparent that several intracellular bacterial pathogens of humans can also survive within protozoa. This interaction with protozoa may protect these pathogens from harsh conditions in the extracellular environment and enhance their infectivity in mammals. This relationship has been clearly established in the case of the interaction between Legionella pneumophila and its protozoan hosts. In addition, the adaptation of bacterial pathogens to the intracellular life within the primitive eukaryotic protozoa may have provided them with the means to infect the more evolved mammalian cells. This is evident from the existence of several similarities, at both the phenotypic and the molecular levels, between the infection of mammalian and protozoan cells by L. pneumophila. Thus, protozoa appear to play a central role in the transition of bacteria from the environment to mammals. In essence, protozoa may be viewed as a 'biological gym', within which intracellular bacterial pathogens train for their encounters with the more evolved mammalian cells. Thus, intracellular bacterial pathogens have benefited from the structural and biochemical conservation of cellular processes in eukaryotes. The interaction of intracellular bacterial pathogens and protozoa highlights this conservation and may constitute a simplified model for the study of these pathogens and the evolution of cellular processes in eukaryotes. Furthermore, in addition to being environmental reservoirs for known intracellular pathogens of humans and animals, protozoa may be sources of emerging pathogenic bacteria. It is thus critical to re-examine the relationship between bacteria and protozoa to further our understanding of current human bacterial pathogenesis and, possibly, to predict the appearance of emerging pathogens.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Legionella pneumophila has been shown to possess multiple genetic loci that play roles in its ability to survive within host cells. The mil (macrophage-specific infectivity loci) mutants of L. pneumophila exhibit a spectrum of defects in intracellular survival in and cytopathogenicity to macrophages and alveolar epithelial cells. This study characterizes one of the mil mutants (GB111). Intracellular growth of GB111 in macrophages was approximately 100- to 1,000-fold less than that of AA100, the parental strain, at 24 and 48 h postinfection. This defect in turn corresponded to a defect in cytopathogenicity. Sequence analysis of the affected GB111 open reading frame (ORF) revealed it to encode a putative transport protein, and the ORF was designated milA. The phenotypic defect of the milA mutant was complemented with a PCR fragment containing only milA, indicating that the defect in GB111 was due to the disruption of milA. Intracellular trafficking of the mutant was examined by laser scanning confocal microscopy. The data showed that 50% of the GB111 phagosomes colocalized with the late endosomal/lysosomal marker LAMP-2 (2 and 4 h postinfection), while less than 10% of the AA100 phagosomes colocalized with this marker. On the other hand, over 80% of the GB111 phagosomes were similar to the AA100 phagosome in that they were devoid of LAMP-1 and cathepsin D, and they were colocalized with the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) marker BiP. However, the number of GB111 phagosomes that colocalized with BiP decreased to 50% 6 h postinfection compared to that of AA100, which remained constant (80% colocalization). Thus, compared to AA100, the milA mutation caused a defect in intracellular replication, which was associated with colocalization of the phagosome with LAMP-2 and BiP, while colocalization with LAMP-1 and cathepsin D was not affected.
Infection and Immunity 02/2000; 68(1):368-76. · 4.07 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Microorganisms have the capacity to sense their environment and to respond to it by alteration in gene expression and protein synthesis. Two-dimensional electrophoresis (2-DE) provides a powerful tool to examine the global response in bacterial protein synthesis upon exposure to different environmental signals. One of the most complex environments encountered by facultative intracellular pathogenic bacteria is the intracellular environment of the host cell. Numerous studies have documented that intracellular bacterial pathogens that replicate within phagosomes are simultaneously exposed to multiple signals and they respond to them by a global alteration in protein synthesis that involves elevated levels of several stress-induced proteins. This stress response is manifested regardless of the nature or the stage of maturation of the phagosome of different intracellular pathogens. In contrast, intracellular bacterial pathogens that replicate within the cytoplasm undergo phenotypic modulation in response to the cytoplasmic environment, but their responses do not include elevated levels of stress-induced proteins. This review describes the use of 2-DE to examine bacterial phenotypic modulation in response to the intracellular environment and contrasts this response between three intracellular pathogens; Legionella pneumophila, Salmonella typhimurium, and Listeria monocytogenes. The Legionella pneumophila phagosome is completely blocked from maturation through the endosomal lysosomal pathway but the S. typhimurium phagosome is a specialized compartment that has partial characteristics of an acidified late endosome, while L. monocytogenes rapidly escapes from an acidified phagosome into the cytoplasm.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The identification of bacterial genes regulated in response to the intracellular environment is crucial to the understanding of host-pathogen interactions. Several techniques have been developed to identify and characterize bacterial genes that are induced during the intracellular infection and, potentially, may play a role in pathogenesis. This review discusses the strategies that have been utilized to examine differential gene expression by bacterial pathogens during the intracellular infection. Furthermore, a number of the differentially expressed genes are described.
Microbes and Infection 06/1999; 1(6):445-53. · 2.92 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The intracellular pathogens Legionella micdadei and Legionella pneumophila are the two most common Legionella species that cause Legionnaires' disease. Intracellular replication within pulmonary cells is the hallmark of Legionnaires' disease. In the environment, legionellae are parasites of protozoans, and intracellular bacterial replication within protozoans plays a major role in the transmission of Legionnaires' disease. In this study, we characterized the initial host signal transduction mechanisms involved during attachment to and invasion of the protozoan host Hartmannella vermiformis by L. micdadei. Bacterial attachment prior to invasion of H. vermiformis by L. micdadei is associated with tyrosine dephosphorylation of multiple host cell proteins, including a 170-kDa protein. We have previously shown that this 170-kDa protein is the galactose N-acetylgalactosamine (Gal/GalNAc)-inhibitable lectin receptor that mediates attachment to and invasion of H. vermiformis by L. pneumophila. Subsequent bacterial entry targets L. micdadei into a phagosome that is not surrounded by the rough endoplasmic reticulum (RER). In contrast, uptake of L. pneumophila mediated by attachment to the Gal/GalNAc lectin is followed by targeting of the bacterium into an RER-surrounded phagosome. These results indicate that despite similarities in the L. micdadei and L. pneumophila attachment-mediated signal transduction mechanisms in H. vermiformis, the two bacterial species are targeted into morphologically distinct phagosomes in their natural protozoan host.
Applied and Environmental Microbiology 10/1998; 64(9):3134-9. · 3.68 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The ability of Legionella pneumophila to cause Legionnaires' disease is dependent on its capacity to survive in the intracellular environment of its host cells. Furthermore, outbreaks of this disease have been associated with contaminated water sources where L. pneumophila survives as a parasite of protozoa. In this study, we determined the effect of nutritional auxotrophy on the ability of L. pneumophila to survive in the intracellular environment of its host cells. We generated a diaminopimelic acid (DAP) auxotroph (AA400) of L. pneumophila by disruption of the aspartate-beta-semialdehyde (asd) gene. The ability of AA400 to survive within macrophages and protozoa was found to be defective. This defect was due solely to the asd disruption since complementation of the mutant with the wild-type asd gene restored its capacity for intracellular survival. Furthermore, the defect was not completely complemented by DAP supplementation to the culture media. Thus, our results suggest that disruption of the asd gene may prove to be useful in the design of attenuated vaccines against Legionnaires' disease.
Infection and Immunity 05/1998; 66(5):1898-903. · 4.07 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have recently shown that many mutants of Legionella pneumophila exhibit similar defective phenotypes within both U937 human-derived macrophages and the protozoan host Acanthamoeba (L.-Y. Gao, O. S. Harb, and Y. Abu Kwaik, Infect. Immun. 65:4738-4746, 1997). These observations have suggested that many of the mechanisms utilized by L. pneumophila to parasitize mammalian and protozoan cells are similar, but our data have not excluded the possibility that there are unique mechanisms utilized by L. pneumophila to survive and replicate within macrophages but not protozoa. To examine this possibility, we screened a bank of 5,280 miniTn10::kan transposon insertion mutants of L. pneumophila for potential mutants that exhibited defective phenotypes of cytopathogenicity and intracellular replication within macrophage-like U937 cells but not within Acanthamoeba polyphaga. We identified 32 mutants with various degrees of defects in cytopathogenicity, intracellular survival, and replication within human macrophages, and most of the mutants exhibited wild-type phenotypes within protozoa. Six of the mutants exhibited mild defects in protozoa. The defective loci were designated mil (for macrophage-specific infectivity loci). Based on their intracellular growth defects within macrophages, the mil mutants were grouped into five phenotypic groups. Groups I to III included the mutants that were severely defective in macrophages, while members of the other two groups exhibited a modestly defective phenotype within macrophages. The growth kinetics of many mutants belonging to groups I to III were also examined, and these were shown to have a similar defective phenotype in peripheral blood monocytes and a wild-type phenotype within another protozoan host, Hartmannella vermiformis. Transmission electron microscopy of A. polyphaga infected by three of the mil mutants belonging to groups I and II showed that they were similar to the parent strain in their capacity to recruit the rough endoplasmic reticulum (RER) around the phagosome. In contrast, infection of macrophages showed that the three mutants failed to recruit the RER around the phagosome during early stages of the infection. None of the mil mutants was resistant to NaCl, and the dot or icm NaCl(r) mutants are severely defective within mammalian and protozoan cells. Our data indicated that in addition to differences in mechanisms of uptake of L. pneumophila by macrophages and protozoa, there were also genetic loci required for L. pneumophila to parasitize mammalian but not protozoan cells. We hypothesize that L. pneumophila has evolved as a protozoan parasite in the environment but has acquired loci specific for intracellular replication within macrophages. Alternatively, ecological coevolution with protozoa has allowed L. pneumophila to possess multiple redundant mechanisms to parasitize protozoa and that some of these mechanisms do not function within macrophages.
Infection and Immunity 04/1998; 66(3):883-92. · 4.07 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Invasion and intracellular replication of Legionella pneumophila within protozoa in the environment plays a major role in the transmission of Legionnaires' disease. Intracellular replication of L. pneumophila within protozoa occurs in a rough endoplasmic reticulum (RER)-surrounded phagosome (Y. Abu Kwaik, Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 62:2022-2028, 1996). Since the subsequent fate of many intracellular pathogens is determined by the route of entry, we compared the mechanisms of attachment and subsequent uptake of L. pneumophila by the two protozoa Hartmannella vermiformis and Acanthamoeba polyphaga. Our data provide biochemical and genetic evidence that the mechanisms of attachment and subsequent uptake of L. pneumophila by the two protozoan hosts are, in part, different. First, uptake of L. pneumophila by H. vermiformis is completely blocked by the monovalent sugars galactose and N-acetyl-D-galactosamine, but these sugars partially blocked A. polyphaga. Second, attachment of L. pneumophila to H. vermiformis is associated with a time-dependent and reversible tyrosine dephosphorylation of multiple host proteins. In contrast, only a slight dephosphorylation of a 170-kDa protein of A. polyphaga is detected upon infection. Third, synthesis of H. vermiformis proteins but not of A. polyphaga proteins is required for uptake of L. pneumophila. Fourth, we have identified L. pneumophila mutants that are severely defective in attachment to A. polyphaga but which exhibit minor reductions in attachment to H. vermiformis and, thus, provide a genetic basis for the difference in mechanisms of attachment to both protozoa. The data indicate a remarkable adaptation of L. pneumophila to attach and invade different protozoan hosts by different mechanisms, yet invasion is followed by a remarkably similar intracellular replication within a RER-surrounded phagosome and subsequent killing of the host cell.
Applied and Environmental Microbiology 02/1998; 64(1):126-32. · 3.68 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Legionnaires' disease bacterium, Legionella pneumophila, is an intracellular pathogen of humans that is amplified in the environment by intracellular multiplication within protozoa. Within both evolutionarily distant hosts, the bacterium multiplies in a rough endoplasmic reticulum-surrounded phagosome that is retarded from maturation through the endosomal-lysosomal degradation pathway. To gain an understanding of the mechanisms utilized by L. pneumophila to invade and replicate within two evolutionarily distant hosts, we isolated a collection of 89 mini-Tn10::kan insertion mutants that exhibited defects in cytotoxicity, intracellular survival, and replication within both U937 macrophage-like cells and Acanthamoeba polyphaga. Interestingly, the patterns of defects in intracellular survival and replication of the mutants within both host cells were highly similar, and thus we designated the defective loci in these mutants pmi (for protozoan and macrophage infectivity loci). On the basis of their ability to attach to host cells and their growth kinetics during the intracellular infection, the mutants were grouped into five groups. Groups 1 and 2 included 41 mutants that were severely defective in intracellular survival and were completely or substantially killed during the first 4 h of infection in both host cells. Three members of group 1 were severely defective in attachment to both U937 cells and A. polyphaga, and another four mutants of group 1 exhibited severe defects in attachment to A. polyphaga but only a mild reduction in their attachment to U937 cells. Four members of groups 1 and 2 were serum sensitive. Intracellular replication of mutants of the other three groups was less defective than that of mutants of groups 1 and 2, and their growth kinetics within both host cells were similar. The mutants were tested for several other phenotypes in vitro, revealing that 14 of the pmi mutants were resistant to NaCl, 3 had insertions in dot or icm, 3 were aflagellar, 12 were highly intolerant to a hyperosmotic medium, and one failed to grow in a minimal medium. Our data indicated that similar mechanisms are utilized by L. pneumophila to replicate within two evolutionarily distant hosts. Although some mechanisms of attachment to both host cells were similar, other distinct mechanisms were utilized by L. pneumophila to attach to A. polyphaga. Our data supported the hypothesis that preadaptation of L. pneumophila to infection of protozoa may play a major role in its ability to replicate within mammalian cells and cause Legionnaires' disease.
Infection and Immunity 12/1997; 65(11):4738-46. · 4.07 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Expression of the global stress protein gene (gspA) is induced during the intracellular infection of macrophages and upon exposure of Legionella pneumophila to in vitro stress stimuli. Transcription of gspA is regulated by two promoters, one of which is regulated by the sigma 32 heat-shock transcription factor. We utilized a gspA promoter fusion to a promoter less lacZ to probe the phagososmal 'microenvironment' for the kinetics of exposure of intracellular L. pneumophila to stress stimuli. Expression through the gspA promoter was constitutively induced by approx. 16-fold throughout the intracellular infection, and occurred predominantly through the sigma 32-regulated promoter. Expression of the gspA promoter was induced approx. 4.5-fold, 5-, 11- and 9-fold upon exposure of L. pneumophila to heat shock, oxidative stress, acid shock, and osmotic shock, respectively. An isogenic insertion mutant of L. pneumophila in gspA (strain AA224) was constructed by allelic exchange in the wild-type strain AA200. Compared to in vitro-grown wild-type strain AA200, AA224 was more susceptible to all four in vitro stress stimuli. The wild-type phenotypes were restored to strain AA224 by complementation with a plasmid containing wild-type gspA. There was no difference between the wild-type strain and the gspA mutant in cytopathogenicity to U937 cells or in their kinetics of intracellular replication within macrophages and amoebae. However, compared to in vitro-grown bacteria, macrophage-grown and amoebae-grown AA200 and AA224 showed an equal and dramatic increase in resistance to in vitro stress stimuli. Our data showed that regardless of the capacity of L. pneumophila to subvert the microbicidal mechanisms of the macrophage, intracellular L. pneumophila is exposed to a high level of stress stimuli throughout the intracellular infection. Although the GspA protein is required for protection of the bacteria against in vitro stress stimuli, and is induced during intracellular multiplication, the loss of its function is probably compensated for by other macrophage-induced and stress-induced proteins within the intracellular environment.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The ability of Legionella pneumophila to cause disease is dependent on its intracellular replication within alveolar cells. In the environment, the bacterium is a parasite of protozoa, which are central to the ecology and pathogenesis of L. pneumophila. This review examines invasion of mammalian and protozoan cells by this bacterium.La capacité pour cette bactérie de provoquer la légionellose est dépendante de sa réplication à l'intérieur des macrophages et des cellules épithéliales. ns l'environnement la bactérie est un parasite des protozoaires. Le pili type IV de L. pneumophila est impliqué dans l'attachement initial aux cellules mammaliennes et aux protozoaires. La pénétration de la bactérie chez ces deux hôtes, si distants sur le plan de l'évolution, se produit à la fois par phagocytose classique et par phagocytose par enroulement. La saisie des bactéries par les macrophages est médiée ou non par le complément. La saisie par les protozoaires est médiée par un récepteur lectine Gal/GalNac, et elle est associée à la déphosphorylation de la tyrosine de la lectine et à celle d'autres protéines du protozoaire-hôte. Après sa pénétration chez les deux types d'hôtes, la bactérie se multiplie à l'intérieur d'un phagosome encerclé par le réticulum endoplasmique rugueux, phagosome dont la maturation est bloquée via la voie endosomique lysosomale, et qui a été qualifié d'EMB (endosomal maturation blocked). Des mutants de L. pneumophila ont été isolés et les locus défectifs ont été regroupés: pmi (protozoa and macrophage infectivity), mil (macrophage-specific infectivity loci), dot (defect in organelle trafficking) et icm (intracellular multiplication). Alors que les mutants pmi sont défectifs à la fois pour les macrophages mammaliens et pour les protozoaires, les mutants mil sont défectifs seulement pour les macrophages. Les mutants pmi et mil ont des destins différents à l'intérieur des macrophages et des cellules épithéliales. Des locus dot et icm codent des protéines semblables aux protéines impliquées dans le transfert d'ADN par conjugaison, et ils sont soupçonnés être impliqués dans l'assemblage d'un appareil secrétoire qui intervient dans la sécrétion de facteurs bactériens qui gouvernent les processus de la cellule-hôte.