[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Obligate amoebal endosymbiotic bacterium Protochlamydia with ancestral pathogenic chlamydial features evolved to survive within protist hosts, such as Acanthamoba, 0.7-1.4 billion years ago, but not within vertebrates including humans. This observation raises the possibility that interactions between Protochlamydia and human cells may result in a novel cytopathic effect, leading to new insights into host-parasite relationships. Previously, we reported that Protochlamydia induces apoptosis of the immortalized human cell line, HEp-2. In this study, we attempted to elucidate the molecular mechanism underlying this apoptosis. We first confirmed that, upon stimulation with the bacteria, poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) was cleaved at an early stage in HEp-2 cells, which was dependent on the amount of bacteria. A pan-caspase inhibitor and both caspase-3 and -9 inhibitors similarly inhibited the apoptosis of HEp-2 cells. A decrease of the mitochondrial membrane potential was also confirmed. Furthermore, lactacystin, an inhibitor of chlamydial protease-like activity factor (CPAF), blocked the apoptosis. Cytochalasin D also inhibited the apoptosis, which was dependent on the drug concentration, indicating that bacterial entry into cells was required to induce apoptosis. Interestingly, Yersinia type III inhibitors (ME0052, ME0053, and ME0054) did not have any effect on the apoptosis. We also confirmed that the Protochlamydia used in this study possessed a homologue of the cpaf gene and that two critical residues, histidine-101 and serine-499 of C. trachomatis CPAF in the active center, were conserved. Thus, our results indicate that after entry, Protochlamydia-secreted CPAF induces mitochondrial dysfunction with a decrease of the membrane potential, followed by caspase-9, caspase-3 and PARP cleavages for apoptosis. More interestingly, because C. trachomatis infection can block the apoptosis, our finding implies unique features of CPAF between pathogenic and primitive chlamydiae.
PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(2):e56005. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Immunoglobulin A nephropathy (IgAN) is characterized by mesangial cell proliferation and mesangial expansion with mesangial depositions of IgA. We have found that electron-dense deposits (EDD) are often observed in areas other than paramesangial areas in glomeruli. To compare electron microscopic findings with light microscopic findings and clinical data, we examined the biopsies from 178 patients with IgAN. Patients were divided into two groups: group A had only paramesangial deposits and group B had deposits not only in paramesangial areas but also in other areas. All patients examined in this study had EDD in glomerular paramesangial areas. Thirty-six patients were included in group B. Cellular crescent formation in glomeruli and urinary protein in group B were significantly higher than those in group A (P < 0.01). Serum albumin and estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) in group B were significantly lower than those in group A (P < 0.05). Group B showed a significant positive correlation with histological severity, which is defined in the Japanese Clinical Guidelines on IgAN. In patients with broad distribution of EDD, urinary protein was significantly increased (P < 0.05). Detailed observation of EDD distribution has an impact on evaluation of the disease activity of IgAN.
Medical Molecular Morphology 12/2012; 45(1):29-34. · 1.17 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Lymphocytes are a potential host cell for Chlamydophila pneumoniae, although why the bacteria must hide in lymphocytes remains unknown. Meanwhile, interferon (IFN)-γ is a crucial factor for eliminating chlamydiae from infected cells through indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) expression, resulting in depletion of tryptophan. We therefore assessed if lymphocytes could work as a shelter for the bacteria to escape IFN-γ. C. pneumoniae grew normally in human lymphoid Jurkat cells, even in the presence of IFN-γ or under stimulation with phorbol myristate acetate plus ionomycin. Although Jurkat cells expressed IFN-γ receptor CD119, their lack of IDO expression was confirmed by RT-PCR and western blotting. Also, C. pneumoniae survived in enriched human peripheral blood lymphocytes, even in the presence of IFN-γ. Furthermore, C. pneumoniae in spleen cells obtained from IFN-γ knockout mice with C57BL/6 background was maintained in a similar way to wild-type mice, supporting a minimal role of IFN-γ-related response for eliminating C. pneumoniae from lymphocytes. Thus, we concluded that IFN-γ did not remove C. pneumoniae from lymphocytes, possibly providing a shelter for C. pneumoniae to escape from the innate immune response, which has direct clinical significance.
Microbes and Infection 11/2012; · 2.92 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Symbiosis between living beings is an important driver of evolutionary novelty and ecological diversity; however, understanding the mechanisms underlying obligate mutualism remains a significant challenge. Regarding this, we have previously isolated two different Acanthamoeba strains harboring endosymbiotic bacteria, Protochlamydia (R18 symbiotic amoebae: R18WT) or Neochlamydia (S13 symbiotic amoebae; S13WT). In this study, we treated the symbiotic amoebae R18WT and S13WT with doxycycline (DOX) and rifampicin (RFP), respectively, to establish the aposymbiotic amoebae R18DOX and S13RFP, respectively. Subsequently, we compared the growth speed, motility, phagocytosis, pinocytosis, and morphology of the symbiotic and aposymbiotic amoebae. The growth speed of R18DOX was decreased, although that of S13RFP was increased. A marked change in motility was observed only for R18DOX amoebae. There was no difference in phagocytic and pinocytic activities between the symbiotic and aposymbiotic amoebae. Meanwhile, we observed a significant change in the phalloidin staining pattern and morphological changes in R18DOX (but not S13RFP) aposymbiotic amoebae, indicating a change in actin accumulation upon removal of the Protochlamydia. Infection of C3 (a reference strain) or S13RFP amoebae with Protochlamydia had a harmful effect on the host amoebae, but R18DOX amoebae re-infected with Protochlamydia showed recovery in both growth speed and motility. Taken together, we conclude that endosymbiont environmental chlamydiae alter the growth speed and/or motility of their host Acanthamoeba, possibly implying an close mutual relationship between amoebae and environmental chlamydiae.
Microbes and Environments 10/2012; · 2.44 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: When Tetrahymena ciliates are cultured with Legionella pneumophila, the ciliates expel bacteria packaged in free spherical pellets. Why the ciliates expel these pellets remains unclear. Hence, we determined the optimal conditions for pellet expulsion and assessed whether pellet expulsion contributes to the maintenance of growth and the survival of ciliates. When incubated with environmental L. pneumophila, the ciliates expelled the pellets maximally at 2 days after infection. Heat-killed bacteria failed to produce pellets from ciliates, and there was no obvious difference in pellet production among the ciliates or bacterial strains. Morphological studies assessing lipid accumulation showed that pellets contained tightly packed bacteria with rapid lipid accumulation and were composed of the layers of membranes; bacterial culturability in the pellets rapidly decreased, in contrast to what was seen in ciliate-free culture, although the bacteria maintained membrane integrity in the pellets. Furthermore, ciliates newly cultured with pellets were maintained and grew vigorously compared with those without pellets. In contrast, a human L. pneumophila isolate killed ciliates 7 days postinfection in a Dot/Icm-dependent manner, and pellets harboring this strain did not support ciliate growth. Also, pellets harboring the human isolate were resuscitated by coculturing with amoebae, depending on Dot/Icm expression. Thus, while ciliates expel pellet-packaged environmental L. pneumophila for stockpiling food, the pellets packaging the human isolate are harmful to ciliate survival, which may be of clinical significance.
Applied and environmental microbiology 05/2012; 78(15):5247-57. · 3.69 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chlamydia trachomatis L2 invasively attacks lymphatic and subepithelial tissues of the genital tract during the formation of primary lesions. This subsequently results in lymphadenopathy, and suggests a greater propensity for systemic dissemination. However, whether lymphocytes are a potential vehicle cell for the dissemination of this infection remains unknown. We therefore assessed the growth properties of C. trachomatis L2 in lymphoid Jurkat cells compared with those observed in epithelial HeLa cells. Both cells supported the growth of C. trachomatis with a similar increase in infective progenies. Enriched human-blood lymphocytes also supported the C. trachomatis growth as well as Jurkat cells. Bacteria infecting the Jurkat cells were more susceptible to antibiotics (doxycycline, azithromycin, ofloxacin) than those in HeLa cells. Of the sphingomyelin biosynthesis inhibitors tested, both myriocin and fumonisin B1 significantly inhibited bacterial growth in both cells types. A Jurkat cell mutant that impaired bacterial growth was established using ethylmethanesulfonate treatment. DNA microarray analysis with real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction revealed that the mutant cells over-expressed granzyme K gene. Immunofluorescence staining also indicated that granzyme K irregularly over-expressed among the mutant cells as compared with that of the wild cells, suggesting a possible mechanism refractory to C. trachomatis infection. Thus, we concluded that C. trachomatis L2 could infect Jurkat cells with lymphoid properties, providing a new tool for studying C. trachomatis dissemination to tissues via lymphocyte movement.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Parachlamydia acanthamoebae is an obligate intracellular bacterium that infects free-living amoebae (Acanthamoeba), and is a potential human pathogen associated with hospital-acquired pneumonia. The attachment mechanism of this bacteria to host cells is crucial in bacterial pathogenesis, yet remains undetermined. Hence, we obtained monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) specific to either P. acanthamoebae or amoebae in an attempt to elucidate the attachment mechanism involved. Hybridomas of 954 clones were assessed, and we found that four mAbs (mAb38, mAb300, mAb311, mAb562) that were reactive to the amoebae significantly inhibited bacterial attachment. All mAbs recognized amoebal released molecules, and mAb311 also recognized the amoebal surface. mAbs reacted with the bacteria not only within amoebae, but also when they were released from amoebae (except mAb311). Furthermore, a serine protease inhibitor had an inhibitory effect on the bacterial attachment to amoebae, although none of the mAbs had any synergistic effect on the inhibition of attachment by the protease inhibitor. Taken together, we conclude that concurrent P. acanthoamebae attachment to amoebae is required for several amoebal released molecules and serine protease activity, implying the existence of a complicated host-parasite relationship.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Protochlamydia, an environmental chlamydia and obligate amoebal endosymbiotic bacterium, evolved to survive within protist hosts, such as Acanthamobae, 700 million years ago. However, these bacteria do not live in vertebrates, including humans. This raises the possibility that interactions between Protochlamydia and human cells could induce a novel cytopathic effect, leading to new insights into host-parasite relationships. Therefore, we studied the effect of Protochlamydia on the survival of human immortal cell line, HEp-2 cells and primary peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC). Using mainly 4',6-diamidino-2-phenylindole staining, fluorescent in situ hybridization, transmission electron microscopy, and also TUNEL and Transwell assays, we demonstrated that the Protochlamydia induced apoptosis in HEp-2 cells. The attachment of viable bacterial cells, but not an increase of bacterial infectious progenies within the cells, was required for the apoptosis. Other chlamydiae [Parachlamydia acanthamoebae and Chlamydia trachomatis (serovars D and L2)] did not induce the same phenomena, indicating that the observed apoptosis may be specific to the Protochlamydia. Furthermore, the bacteria had no effect on the survival of primary PBMCs collected from five volunteers, regardless of activation. We concluded that Protochlamydia induces apoptosis in human-immortal HEp-2 cells and that this endosymbiont could potentially be used as a biological tool for the elucidation of novel host-parasite relationships.
PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(1):e30270. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The survival of Alloiococcus otitidis (NCFB2890) with different nutritional supplements, including brain-heart infusion broth (BHI), phosphate-buffered saline (PBS), distilled water (DW), and middle ear effusion (MEE), as well as various atmospheres (aerobic, microaerobic, anaerobic), was compared using cultures, LIVE/DEAD staining, and transmission electron microscopy. The bacterial morphological traits and viability were maintained in BHI and MEE under aerobic conditions but were rapidly lost in PBS and DW. In contrast, anaerobic conditions did not support viability at all. Thus, the bacteria critically required an aerobic atmosphere for its survival as well as the appropriate nutrients, implying that culture of this pathogen from clinical specimens would become more difficult through oxygen depletion depending on a slight change in the middle ear atmosphere.
Journal of Infection and Chemotherapy 01/2011; 17(4):478-82. · 1.55 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The obligate intracellular bacterium Parachlamydia acanthamoebae is a potential human pathogen, but the host range of the bacteria remains unknown. Hence, the growth of P. acanthamoebae Bn₉ in protozoa (Tetrahymena, Acanthamoeba, Dictyostelium) and mammalian cells (HEp-2, Vero, THP-1, PMA-stimulated THP-1, Jurkat) was assessed using an AIU assay which had been previously established by the current authors. P. acanthamoebae grew in Acanthamoeba but not in the other cell types. The growth was also confirmed using DAPI staining, FISH and TEM. These results indicate that the host range of P. acanthamoebae is limited.
Microbiology and Immunology 11/2010; 54(11):707-13. · 1.55 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Obligate intracellular bacteria are commonly seen as endosymbionts of acanthamoebae. However, whether endosymbionts can survive amoebal encystations remains a significant challenge in cellular biology. The survival of the endosymbiotic bacteria Protochlamydia belonging to environmental chlamydiae found in an amoebal isolate that we have previously reported (Environmental Microbiology Reports, DOI: 10.1111/j.1758-2229.2009.00094.x, 2009) following encystation was therefore assessed. The bacteria were observed in cysts and trophozoites reverted from cysts by analysis with transmission electron microscope, and the bacterial 16S rRNA transcripts were detected in amoeba cultures following encystations by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction method. Furthermore, the bacterial growth was also confirmed, by fluorescent in situ hybridization analysis and the AIU assay that we have previously established (Applied Environmental Microbiology, 74: 6397-6404, 2008), in trophozoites reverted from cysts stored at 4°C for up to a month after encystation. Thus, these results demonstrated that Protochlamydia could survive in acanthamoebae following encystation. Our findings suggest that amoeba cysts might be further studied in order to understand their role in the environmental survival of endosymbionts.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Obligate intracellular bacteria are commonly found as endosymbionts of acanthamoebae; however, their survival in and ability to transfer to amoebae are currently uncharacterized. In this study, six bacterial endosymbionts, found in five environmental Acanthamoeba isolates (S13, R18, S23, S31, S40) from different locations of Sapporo city, Japan, were characterized. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that three bacterial endosymbionts (eS23, eS31, eS40a) belonged to α- and β-Proteobacteria phyla and the remaining endosymbionts (eS13, eR18, eS40b) belonged to the order Chlamydiales. The Acanthamoeba isolate (S40) contained two phylogenetically different bacterial endosymbionts (eS40a, eS40b). Fluorescent in situ hybridization analysis showed that all bacterial endosymbionts were diffusely localized within amoebae. Transmission electron microscopy also showed that the endosymbionts were rod-shaped (eS23, eS31, eS40a) or sphere- or crescent-shaped (eS13, eR18, eS40b). No successful culture of these bacteria was achieved using conventional culture methods, but the viability of endosymbionts was confirmed by live/dead staining and RT-PCR methods. However, endosymbionts (except eR18) derived from original host cells lost the ability to be transferred to another Acanthamoebae strains [ATCC strain (C3), environmental strains (S14, R23, S24)]. Thus, our data demonstrate that phylogenetically diverse bacterial endosymbionts found in amoebae maintain a stable interaction with amoebae, but the transferability is limited.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Whether endosymbionts can survive amoebal encystations remains a significant challenge in cellular biology. The survival of the endosymbiotic bacteria Protochlamydia belonging to environmental chlamydiae in acanthamoebae following encystation was therefore assessed. The bacteria were observed in cysts and the bacterial transcripts (16S rRNA and/or groEL) were also detected in amoeba cultures following encystation. Furthermore, the bacterial replication and the growth was confirmed in trophozoites reverted from cysts. Thus, these results demonstrated that Protochlamydia could survive in acanthamoebae following encystation. Our findings suggest that amoeba cysts might be further studied in order to elucidate the their role in the environmental survival of endosymbionts.