The type III secretion system (T3SS) is a membrane-embedded nanomachine found in several Gram-negative bacteria. Upon contact between bacteria and host cells, the syringe-like T3SS (Figure 1) transfers proteins termed effectors from the bacterial cytosol to the cytoplasm or the plasma membrane of a single target cell. This is a major difference from secretion systems that merely release molecules into the extracellular milieu, where they act on potentially distant target cells expressing the relevant surface receptors. The syringe architecture is conserved at the structural and functional level and supports injection into a great variety of hosts and tissues. However, the pool of effectors is species specific and determines the outcome of the interaction, via modulation of target-cell function.
Upon infection with Shigella flexneri, epithelial cells release ATP through connexin hemichannels. However, the pathophysiological consequence and the regulation of this process are unclear. Here we showed that in intestinal epithelial cell ATP release was an early alert response to infection with enteric pathogens that eventually promoted inflammation of the gut. Shigella evolved to escape this inflammatory reaction by its type III secretion effector IpgD, which blocked hemichannels via the production of the lipid PtdIns5P. Infection with an ipgD mutant resulted in rapid hemichannel-dependent accumulation of extracellular ATP in vitro and in vivo, which preceded the onset of inflammation. At later stages of infection, ipgD-deficient Shigella caused strong intestinal inflammation owing to extracellular ATP. We therefore describe a new paradigm of host-pathogen interaction based on endogenous danger signaling and identify extracellular ATP as key regulator of mucosal inflammation during infection. Our data provide new angles of attack for the development of anti-inflammatory molecules.
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.
Shigella, the Gram-negative enteroinvasive bacterium that causes shigellosis, relies on its type III secretion system (TTSS) and injected effectors to modulate host cell functions. However, consequences of the interaction between Shigella and lymphocytes have not been investigated. We show that Shigella invades activated human CD4(+) T lymphocytes. Invasion requires a functional TTSS and results in inhibition of chemokine-induced T cell migration, an effect mediated by the TTSS effector IpgD, a phosphoinositide 4-phosphatase. Remarkably, IpgD injection into bystander T cells can occur in the absence of cell invasion. Upon IpgD-mediated hydrolysis of phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate (PIP(2)), the pool of PIP(2) at the plasma membrane is reduced, leading to dephosphorylation of the ERM proteins and their inability to relocalize at one T cell pole upon chemokine stimulus, likely affecting the formation of the polarized edge required for cell migration. These results reveal a bacterial TTSS effector-mediated strategy to impair T cell function.
Intestinal pathogens use the hosts excessive inflammatory cytokine response, designed to eliminate dangerous bacteria, to disrupt epithelial gut wall integrity and promote their tissue invasion. We sought to develop a non-antibiotic-based approach to prevent this injury. Molecular docking studies suggested that glycosylated dendrimers block the TLR4-MD-2-LPS complex, and a 13.6 kDa polyamidoamine (PAMAM) dendrimer glucosamine (DG) reduced the induction of human monocyte interleukin (IL)-6 by Gram-negative bacteria. In a rabbit model of shigellosis, PAMAM-DG prevented epithelial gut wall damage and intestinal villous destruction, reduced local IL-6 and IL-8 expression, and minimized bacterial invasion. Computational modelling studies identified a 3.3 kDa polypropyletherimine (PETIM)-DG as the smallest likely bioactive molecule. In human monocytes, high purity PETIM-DG potently inhibited Shigella Lipid A-induced IL-6 expression. In rabbits, PETIM-DG prevented Shigella-induced epithelial gut wall damage, reduced local IL-6 and IL-8 expression, and minimized bacterial invasion. There was no change in ?-defensin, IL-10, interferon-?, transforming growth factor-?, CD3 or FoxP3 expression. Small and orally delivered DG could be useful for preventing gut wall tissue damage in a wide spectrum of infectious diarrhoeal diseases.
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