Articles by Effie E Bastounis in JoVE
A Multi-well Format Polyacrylamide-based Assay for Studying the Effect of Extracellular Matrix Stiffness on the Bacterial Infection of Adherent Cells Effie E Bastounis1, Fabian E Ortega1, Ricardo Serrano2, Julie A Theriot3 1Department of Biochemistry, Stanford University School of Medicine, 2Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of California San Diego, 3Departments of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Stanford University School of Medicine We have developed a multi-well format polyacrylamide-based assay for probing the effect of extracellular matrix stiffness on bacterial infection of adherent cells. This assay is compatible with flow cytometry, immunostaining, and traction force microscopy, allowing for quantitative measurements of the biomechanical interactions between cells, their extracellular matrix, and pathogenic bacteria.
Other articles by Effie E Bastounis on PubMed
Matrix Stiffness Modulates Infection of Endothelial Cells by Listeria Monocytogenes Via Expression of Cell Surface Vimentin Molecular Biology of the Cell. | Pubmed ID: 29718765 Extracellular matrix stiffness (ECM) is one of the many mechanical forces acting on mammalian adherent cells and an important determinant of cellular function. While the effect of ECM stiffness on many aspects of cellular behavior has been studied previously, how ECM stiffness might mediate susceptibility of host cells to infection by bacterial pathogens is hitherto unexplored. To address this open question, we manufactured hydrogels of varying physiologically relevant stiffness and seeded human microvascular endothelial cells (HMEC-1) on them. We then infected HMEC-1 with the bacterial pathogen Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) and found that adhesion of Lm to host cells increases monotonically with increasing matrix stiffness, an effect that requires the activity of focal adhesion kinase (FAK). We identified cell surface vimentin as a candidate surface receptor mediating stiffness-dependent adhesion of Lm to HMEC-1 and found that bacterial infection of these host cells is decreased when the amount of surface vimentin is reduced. Our results provide the first evidence that ECM stiffness can mediate the susceptibility of mammalian host cells to infection by a bacterial pathogen.
Listeria Monocytogenes InlP Interacts with Afadin and Facilitates Basement Membrane Crossing PLoS Pathogens. | Pubmed ID: 29847585 During pregnancy, the placenta protects the fetus against the maternal immune response, as well as bacterial and viral pathogens. Bacterial pathogens that have evolved specific mechanisms of breaching this barrier, such as Listeria monocytogenes, present a unique opportunity for learning how the placenta carries out its protective function. We previously identified the L. monocytogenes protein Internalin P (InlP) as a secreted virulence factor critical for placental infection. Here, we show that InlP, but not the highly similar L. monocytogenes internalin Lmo2027, binds to human afadin (encoded by AF-6), a protein associated with cell-cell junctions. A crystal structure of InlP reveals several unique features, including an extended leucine-rich repeat (LRR) domain with a distinctive Ca2+-binding site. Despite afadin's involvement in the formation of cell-cell junctions, MDCK epithelial cells expressing InlP displayed a decrease in the magnitude of the traction stresses they could exert on deformable substrates, similar to the decrease in traction exhibited by AF-6 knock-out MDCK cells. L. monocytogenes ΔinlP mutants were deficient in their ability to form actin-rich protrusions from the basal face of polarized epithelial monolayers, a necessary step in the crossing of such monolayers (transcytosis). A similar phenotype was observed for bacteria expressing an internal in-frame deletion in inlP (inlP ΔLRR5) that specifically disrupts its interaction with afadin. However, afadin deletion in the host cells did not rescue the transcytosis defect. We conclude that secreted InlP targets cytosolic afadin to specifically promote L. monocytogenes transcytosis across the basal face of epithelial monolayers, which may contribute to the crossing of the basement membrane during placental infection.