Plasma fibronectin stabilizes Borrelia burgdorferi-endothelial interactions under vascular shear stress by a catch-bond mechanism.
ABSTRACT: Bacterial dissemination via the cardiovascular system is the most common cause of infection mortality. A key step in dissemination is bacterial interaction with endothelia lining blood vessels, which is physically challenging because of the shear stress generated by blood flow. Association of host cells such as leukocytes and platelets with endothelia under vascular shear stress requires mechanically specialized interaction mechanisms, including force-strengthened catch bonds. However, the biomechanical mechanisms supporting vascular interactions of most bacterial pathogens are undefined. Fibronectin (Fn), a ubiquitous host molecule targeted by many pathogens, promotes vascular interactions of the Lyme disease spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi Here, we investigated how B. burgdorferi exploits Fn to interact with endothelia under physiological shear stress, using recently developed live cell imaging and particle-tracking methods for studying bacterial-endothelial interaction biomechanics. We found that B. burgdorferi does not primarily target insoluble matrix Fn deposited on endothelial surfaces but, instead, recruits and induces polymerization of soluble plasma Fn (pFn), an abundant protein in blood plasma that is normally soluble and nonadhesive. Under physiological shear stress, caps of polymerized pFn at bacterial poles formed part of mechanically loaded adhesion complexes, and pFn strengthened and stabilized interactions by a catch-bond mechanism. These results show that B. burgdorferi can transform a ubiquitous but normally nonadhesive blood constituent to increase the efficiency, strength, and stability of bacterial interactions with vascular surfaces. Similar mechanisms may promote dissemination of other Fn-binding pathogens.
Project description:Systemic dissemination of microbes is critical for progression of many infectious diseases and is associated with most mortality due to bacterial infection. The physical mechanisms mediating a key dissemination step, bacterial association with vascular endothelia in blood vessels, remain unknown. Here, we show that endothelial interactions of the Lyme disease spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi under physiological shear stress mechanistically resemble selectin-dependent leukocyte rolling. Specifically, these interactions are mediated by transfer of mechanical load along a series of adhesion complexes and are stabilized by tethers and catch bond properties of the bacterial adhesin BBK32. Furthermore, we found that the forces imposed on adhesive bonds under flow may be small enough to permit active migration driven by bacterial flagellar motors. These findings provide insight into the biomechanics of bacterial-vascular interactions and demonstrate that disseminating bacteria and circulating host immune cells share widely conserved mechanisms for interacting with endothelia under physiological shear stress.
Project description:Systemic dissemination of microbial pathogens permits microbes to spread from the initial site of infection to secondary target tissues and is responsible for most mortality due to bacterial infections. Dissemination is a critical stage of disease progression by the Lyme spirochaete, Borrelia burgdorferi. However, many mechanistic features of the process are not yet understood. A key step is adhesion of circulating microbes to vascular surfaces in the face of the shear forces present in flowing blood. Using real-time microscopic imaging of the Lyme spirochaete in living mice we previously identified the first bacterial protein (B.?burgdorferi BBK32) shown to mediate vascular adhesion in vivo. Vascular adhesion is also dependent on host fibronectin (Fn) and glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). In the present study, we investigated the mechanisms of BBK32-dependent vascular adhesion in vivo. We determined that BBK32-Fn interactions (tethering) function as a molecular braking mechanism that permits the formation of more stable BBK32-GAG interactions (dragging) between circulating bacteria and vascular surfaces. Since BBK32-like proteins are expressed in a variety of pathogens we believe that the vascular adhesion mechanisms we have deciphered here may be critical for understanding the dissemination mechanisms of other bacterial pathogens.
Project description:Hematogenous dissemination is important for infection by many bacterial pathogens, but is poorly understood because of the inability to directly observe this process in living hosts at the single cell level. All disseminating pathogens must tether to the host endothelium despite significant shear forces caused by blood flow. However, the molecules that mediate tethering interactions have not been identified for any bacterial pathogen except E. coli, which tethers to host cells via a specialized pillus structure that is not found in many pathogens. Furthermore, the mechanisms underlying tethering have never been examined in living hosts. We recently engineered a fluorescent strain of Borrelia burgdorferi, the Lyme disease pathogen, and visualized its dissemination from the microvasculature of living mice using intravital microscopy. We found that dissemination was a multistage process that included tethering, dragging, stationary adhesion and extravasation. In the study described here, we used quantitative real-time intravital microscopy to investigate the mechanistic features of the vascular interaction stage of B. burgdorferi dissemination. We found that tethering and dragging interactions were mechanistically distinct from stationary adhesion, and constituted the rate-limiting initiation step of microvascular interactions. Surprisingly, initiation was mediated by host Fn and GAGs, and the Fn- and GAG-interacting B. burgdorferi protein BBK32. Initiation was also strongly inhibited by the low molecular weight clinical heparin dalteparin. These findings indicate that the initiation of spirochete microvascular interactions is dependent on host ligands known to interact in vitro with numerous other bacterial pathogens. This conclusion raises the intriguing possibility that fibronectin and GAG interactions might be a general feature of hematogenous dissemination by other pathogens.
Project description:Treponema pallidum subsp. pallidum, the causative agent of syphilis, is a highly invasive spirochete pathogen that uses the vasculature to disseminate throughout the body. Identification of bacterial factors promoting dissemination is crucial for syphilis vaccine development. An important step in dissemination is bacterial adhesion to blood vessel surfaces, a process mediated by bacterial proteins that can withstand forces imposed on adhesive bonds by blood flow (vascular adhesins). The study of T. pallidum vascular adhesins is hindered by the uncultivable nature of this pathogen. We overcame these limitations by expressing T. pallidum adhesin Tp0751 (pallilysin) in an adhesion-attenuated strain of the cultivable spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi. Under fluid shear stress representative of conditions in postcapillary venules, Tp0751 restored bacterial-vascular interactions to levels similar to those observed for infectious B. burgdorferi and a gain-of-function strain expressing B. burgdorferi vascular adhesin BBK32. The strength and stability of Tp0751- and BBK32-dependent endothelial interactions under physiological shear stress were similar, although the mechanisms stabilizing these interactions were distinct. Tp0751 expression also permitted bacteria to interact with postcapillary venules in live mice as effectively as BBK32-expressing strains. These results demonstrate that Tp0751 can function as a vascular adhesin.
Project description:Fibronectin (FN) exists in two forms-plasma FN (pFN) and cellular FN (cFN). Although the role of FN in embryonic blood vessel development is well established, its function and the contribution of individual isoforms in early postnatal vascular development are poorly understood. Here, we employed a tamoxifen-dependent cFN inducible knockout (cFN iKO) mouse model to study the consequences of postnatal cFN deletion in smooth muscle cells (SMCs), the major cell type in the vascular wall. Deletion of cFN influences collagen deposition but does not affect life span. Unexpectedly, pFN translocated to the aortic wall in the cFN iKO and in control mice, possibly rescuing the loss of cFN. Postnatal pFN deletion did not show a histological aortic phenotype. Double knockout (dKO) mice lacking both, cFN in SMCs and pFN, resulted in postnatal lethality. These data demonstrate a safeguard role of pFN in vascular stability and the dispensability of the individual FN isoforms in postnatal vascular development. Complete absence of FNs in the dKOs resulted in a disorganized tunica media of the aortic wall. Matrix analysis revealed common and differential roles of the FN isoforms in guiding the assembly/deposition of elastogenic extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins in the aortic wall. In addition, we determined with two cell culture models that that the two FN isoforms acted similarly in supporting matrix formation with a greater contribution from cFN. Together, these data show that pFN exerts a critical role in safeguarding vascular organization and health, and that the two FN isoforms function in an overlapping as well as distinct manner to maintain postnatal vascular matrix integrity.
Project description:Mice lacking both of the best-known platelet ligands, von Willebrand factor and fibrinogen, can still form occlusive thrombi in injured arterioles. The platelets of these animals accumulate excessive amounts of fibronectin (FN). These observations led us to examine the contribution of plasma FN (pFN) to thrombus formation. Inactivation of the FN gene in FN conditional knockout mice reduced pFN levels to <2% and platelet FN to approximately 20% of the levels in similarly treated control mice. The mice were then observed in a model of arterial injury to evaluate their capacity to form thrombi. The deficiency of pFN did not affect the initial platelet adhesion, but a delay of several minutes in thrombus formation was observed in the arterioles of pFN-deficient mice as compared with control mice. The thrombi that formed in the absence of pFN were stably anchored to the vessel wall but continuously shed platelets or small platelet clumps, thus slowing their growth significantly; the platelet/platelet cohesion was apparently diminished. Consequently the occlusion of pFN-deficient vessels was delayed, with the majority of vessels remaining patent at the end of the 40-min observation period. We conclude that, in addition to von Willebrand factor and fibrinogen, FN plays a significant role in thrombus initiation, growth, and stability at arterial shear rates and that deficiency in each of the three platelet ligands has its own specific impact on platelet plug formation.
Project description:Atherosclerotic lesions are asymmetric focal thickenings of the intima of arteries that consist of lipids, various cell types and extracellular matrix (ECM). These lesions lead to vascular occlusion representing the most common cause of death in the Western world. The main cause of vascular occlusion is rupture of atheromatous lesions followed by thrombus formation. Fibronectin (FN) is one of the earliest ECM proteins deposited at atherosclerosis-prone sites and was suggested to promote atherosclerotic lesion formation. Here, we report that atherosclerosis-prone apolipoprotein E-null mice lacking hepatocyte-derived plasma FN (pFN) fed with a pro-atherogenic diet display dramatically reduced FN depositions at atherosclerosis-prone areas, which results in significantly smaller and fewer atherosclerotic plaques. However, the atherosclerotic lesions from pFN-deficient mice lacked vascular smooth muscle cells and failed to develop a fibrous cap. Thus, our results demonstrate that while FN worsens the course of atherosclerosis by increasing the atherogenic plaque area, it promotes the formation of the protective fibrous cap, which in humans prevents plaques rupture and vascular occlusion.
Project description:Central nervous system remyelination by oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) ultimately fails in the majority of multiple sclerosis (MS) lesions. Remyelination benefits from transient expression of factors that promote migration and proliferation of OPCs, which may include fibronectin (Fn). Fn is present in demyelinated lesions in two major forms; plasma Fn (pFn), deposited following blood-brain barrier disruption, and cellular Fn, synthesized by resident glial cells and containing alternatively spliced domains EIIIA and EIIIB. Here, we investigated the distinctive roles that astrocyte-derived Fn (aFn) and pFn play in remyelination. We used an inducible Cre-lox recombination strategy to selectively remove pFn, aFn or both from mice, and examined the impact on remyelination of toxin-induced demyelinated lesions of spinal cord white matter. This approach revealed that astrocytes are a major source of Fn in demyelinated lesions. Furthermore, following aFn conditional knockout, the number of OPCs recruited to the demyelinated lesion decreased significantly, whereas OPC numbers were unaltered following pFn conditional knockout. However, remyelination completed normally following conditional knockout of aFn and pFn. Both the EIIIA and EIIIB domains of aFn were expressed following demyelination, and in vitro assays demonstrated that the EIIIA domain of aFn mediates proliferation of OPCs, but not migration. Therefore, although the EIIIA domain from aFn mediates OPC proliferation, aFn is not essential for successful remyelination. Since previous findings indicated that astrocyte-derived Fn aggregates in chronic MS lesions inhibit remyelination, aFn removal may benefit therapeutic strategies to promote remyelination in MS.
Project description:Fibronectin (FN) assembly and fibrillogenesis are critically important in both development and the adult organism, but their importance in vascular functions is not fully understood. Here we identify a novel pathway by which haemodynamic forces regulate FN assembly and fibrillogenesis during vascular remodelling. Induction of disturbed shear stress in vivo and in vitro resulted in complex FN fibril assembly that was dependent on the mechanosensor PECAM. Loss of PECAM also inhibited the cell-intrinsic ability to remodel FN. Gain- and loss-of-function experiments revealed that PECAM-dependent RhoA activation is required for FN assembly. Furthermore, PECAM-/- mice exhibited reduced levels of active ?1 integrin that were responsible for reduced RhoA activation and downstream FN assembly. These data identify a new pathway by which endothelial mechanotransduction regulates FN assembly and flow-mediated vascular remodelling.
Project description:Background:There is a pressing need for specific prognostic markers that could be used to monitor the severity of sepsis. The aims of our study were to investigate changes in the expression of different molecular forms of fibronectin in sepsis and to assess their relationship to the clinical severity and mortality of patients. Material and Methods. Forms of fibronectin: plasma (pFN), cellular (EDA-FN), FN-fibrin complexes, and fibronectin fragments were analyzed in 71 sepsis patients (survivors and nonsurvivors) and in the control by ELISA and immunoblotting. Results:The baseline pFN concentration of patients with sepsis was significantly lower than in the control (133.0?mg/L vs. 231.2?mg/L) (P < 0.001), and in nonsurvivors, it was lower than in survivors (106.0?mg/L vs. 152.8?mg/L) (P = 0.004). The baseline EDA-FN was significantly elevated in both sepsis groups (survivors: 6.7?mg/L; nonsurvivors: 9.4?mg/L) compared to the control (1.4?mg/L) (P < 0.001). It should be noted that among patients with more severe sepsis, the EDA-FN level was higher in nonsurvivors than in survivors. Furthermore, molecular FN-fibrin complexes as well as FN fragments occurred much more frequently in nonsurvivors than in survivors. Conclusion:The study showed that in sepsis, changes in plasmatic and cellular form of fibronectin were associated with the severity of sepsis and may be useful predictors of outcome.