Epithelial cells detect functional type III secretion system of enteropathogenic Escherichia coli through a novel NF-?B signaling pathway.
ABSTRACT: Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC), a common cause of infant diarrhea, is associated with high risk of mortality in developing countries. The primary niche of infecting EPEC is the apical surface of intestinal epithelial cells. EPEC employs a type three secretion system (TTSS) to inject the host cells with dozens of effector proteins, which facilitate attachment to these cells and successful colonization. Here we show that EPEC elicit strong NF-?B activation in infected host cells. Furthermore, the data indicate that active, pore-forming TTSS per se is necessary and sufficient for this NF-?B activation, regardless of any specific effector or protein translocation. Importantly, upon infection with wild type EPEC this NF-?B activation is antagonized by anti-NF-?B effectors, including NleB, NleC and NleE. Accordingly, this NF-?B activation is evident only in cells infected with EPEC mutants deleted of nleB, nleC, and nleE. The TTSS-dependent NF-?B activation involves a unique pathway, which is independent of TLRs and Nod1/2 and converges with other pathways at the level of TAK1 activation. Taken together, our results imply that epithelial cells have the capacity to sense the EPEC TTSS and activate NF-?B in response. Notably, EPEC antagonizes this capacity by delivering anti-NF-?B effectors into the infected cells.
Project description:Many bacterial pathogens utilize a type III secretion system (T3SS) to inject virulence effector proteins into host cells during infection. Previously, we found that enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) uses the type III effector, NleE, to block the inflammatory response by inhibiting I?B degradation and nuclear translocation of the p65 subunit of NF-?B. Here we screened further effectors with unknown function for their capacity to prevent p65 nuclear translocation. We observed that ectopic expression of GFP-NleC in HeLa cells led to the degradation of p65. Delivery of NleC by the T3SS of EPEC also induced degradation of p65 in infected cells as well as other NF-?B components, c-Rel and p50. Recombinant His(6) -NleC induced p65 and p50 cleavage in HeLa cell lysates and mutation of a consensus zinc metalloprotease motif, HEIIH, abrogated NleC proteolytic activity. NleC inhibited IL-8 production during prolonged EPEC infection of HeLa cells in a protease activity-dependent manner. A double nleE/nleC mutant was further impaired for its ability to inhibit IL-8 secretion than either a single nleE or a single nleC mutant. We conclude that NleC is a type III effector protease that degrades NF-?B thereby contributing the arsenal of bacterial effectors that inhibit innate immune activation.
Project description:Many bacterial pathogens utilize a type III secretion system to deliver multiple effector proteins into host cells. Here we found that the type III effectors, NleE from enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC) and OspZ from Shigella, blocked translocation of the p65 subunit of the transcription factor, NF-kappaB, to the host cell nucleus. NF-kappaB inhibition by NleE was associated with decreased IL-8 expression in EPEC-infected intestinal epithelial cells. Ectopically expressed NleE also blocked nuclear translocation of p65 and c-Rel, but not p50 or STAT1/2. NleE homologues from other attaching and effacing pathogens as well OspZ from Shigella flexneri 6 and Shigella boydii, also inhibited NF-kappaB activation and p65 nuclear import; however, a truncated form of OspZ from S. flexneri 2a that carries a 36 amino acid deletion at the C-terminus had no inhibitory activity. We determined that the C-termini of NleE and full length OspZ were functionally interchangeable and identified a six amino acid motif, IDSY(M/I)K, that was important for both NleE- and OspZ-mediated inhibition of NF-kappaB activity. We also established that NleB, encoded directly upstream from NleE, suppressed NF-kappaB activation. Whereas NleE inhibited both TNFalpha and IL-1beta stimulated p65 nuclear translocation and IkappaB degradation, NleB inhibited the TNFalpha pathway only. Neither NleE nor NleB inhibited AP-1 activation, suggesting that the modulatory activity of the effectors was specific for NF-kappaB signaling. Overall our data show that EPEC and Shigella have evolved similar T3SS-dependent means to manipulate host inflammatory pathways by interfering with the activation of selected host transcriptional regulators.
Project description:The NF-?B signaling pathway is central to the innate and adaptive immune responses. Upon their detection of pathogen-associated molecular patterns, Toll-like receptors on the cell surface initiate signal transduction and activate the NF-?B pathway, leading to the production of a wide array of inflammatory cytokines, in attempt to eradicate the invaders. As a countermeasure, pathogens have evolved ways to subvert and manipulate this system to their advantage. Enteropathogenic and enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EPEC and EHEC) are closely related bacteria responsible for major food-borne diseases worldwide. Via a needle-like protein complex called the type three secretion system (T3SS), these pathogens deliver virulence factors directly to host cells and modify cellular functions, including by suppressing the inflammatory response. Using gain- and loss-of-function screenings, we identified two bacterial effectors, NleC and NleE, that down-regulate the NF-?B signal upon being injected into a host cell via the T3SS. A recent report showed that NleE inhibits NF-?B activation, although an NleE-deficient pathogen was still immune-suppressive, indicating that other anti-inflammatory effectors are involved. In agreement, our present results showed that NleC was also required to inhibit inflammation. We found that NleC is a zinc protease that disrupts NF-?B activation by the direct cleavage of NF-?B's p65 subunit in the cytoplasm, thereby decreasing the available p65 and reducing the total nuclear entry of active p65. More importantly, we showed that a mutant EPEC/EHEC lacking both NleC and NleE (?nleC ?nleE) caused greater inflammatory response than bacteria carrying ?nleC or ?nleE alone. This effect was similar to that of a T3SS-defective mutant. In conclusion, we found that NleC is an anti-inflammatory bacterial zinc protease, and that the cooperative function of NleE and NleC disrupts the NF-?B pathway and accounts for most of the immune suppression caused by EHEC/EPEC.
Project description:The complex host-pathogen interplay involves the recognition of the pathogen by the host's innate immune system and countermeasures taken by the pathogen. Detection of invading bacteria by the host leads to rapid activation of the transcription factor NF-kappaB, followed by inflammation and eradication of the intruders. In response, some pathogens, including enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC), acquired means of blocking NF-kappaB activation. We show that inhibition of NF-kappaB activation by EPEC involves the injection of NleE into the host cell. Importantly, we show that NleE inhibits NF-kappaB activation by preventing activation of IKKbeta and consequently the degradation of the NF-kappaB inhibitor, IkappaB. This NleE activity is enhanced by, but is not dependent on, a second injected effector, NleB. In conclusion, this study describes two effectors, NleB and NleE, with no similarity to other known proteins, used by pathogens to manipulate NF-kappaB signaling pathways.
Project description:Two major arms of the inflammatory response are the NF-?B and c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) pathways. Here, we show that enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) employs the type III secretion system to target these two signalling arms by injecting host cells with two effector proteins, NleC and NleD. We provide evidence that NleC and NleD are Zn-dependent endopeptidases that specifically clip and inactivate RelA (p65) and JNK, respectively, thus blocking NF-?B and AP-1 activation. We show that NleC and NleD co-operate and complement other EPEC effectors in accomplishing maximal inhibition of IL-8 secretion. This is a remarkable example of a pathogen using multiple effectors to manipulate systematically the host inflammatory response signalling network.
Project description:Attaching and effacing (A/E) pathogens are a significant cause of gastrointestinal illness in humans and animals. All A/E pathogens carry a large pathogenicity island, termed the locus for enterocyte effacement (LEE), which encodes a type III secretion system that translocates several effector proteins into host cells. To identify novel virulence determinants in A/E pathogens, we performed a signature-tagged mutagenesis screen in C57BL/6 mice by using the mouse A/E pathogen Citrobacter rodentium. Five hundred seventy-six derivatives of C. rodentium were tested in pools of 12 mutants. One attenuated mutant carried a transposon insertion in nleB, which encodes a putative effector of the LEE-encoded type III secretion system (T3SS). nleB is present in a genomic pathogenicity island that also encodes another putative effector, NleE, immediately downstream. Using translational fusions with beta-lactamase (TEM-1), we showed that both NleB and NleE were translocated into host cells by the LEE-encoded T3SS of enteropathogenic Escherichia coli. In addition, deletion of the gene encoding NleB in C. rodentium resulted in reduced colonization of mice in single infections and reduced colonic hyperplasia. In contrast, the deletion of other non-LEE-encoded effector genes in C. rodentium, nleC, nleD, or nleE, had no effect on host colonization or disease. These results suggest that nleB encodes an important virulence determinant of A/E pathogens.
Project description:Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC), enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) and Citrobacter rodentium colonize their respective hosts while forming attaching and effacing lesions. Their infection strategy relies on translocation of a battery of type III secretion system effectors, including Map, EspM and EspT, which belong to the WxxxE/SopE family of guanine nucleotide exchange factors. Using the C. rodentium mouse model we found that EspT triggers expression of KC and TNF? in vivo. Indeed, a growing body of evidence suggests that, in addition to subversion of actin dynamics, the SopE and the WxxxE effectors activate signalling pathways involved in immune responses. In this study we found that EspT induces expression of the pro-inflammatory mediators cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) an enzyme involved in production of prostaglandin E(2) (PGE2), interleukin (Il)-8 and Il-1? in U937 human macrophages by activating the nuclear factor kappa-B (NF-?B), the extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1 and 2 (Erk1/2) and c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) pathways. Since EspT modulates the activation of Cdc42 and Rac1, which mediates bacterial invasion into epithelial cells, we investigated the involvement of these Rho GTPases and bacterial invasion on pro-inflammatory responses and found that (i) Rac1, but not Cdc42, is involved in EspT-induced Il-8 and Il-1? secretion and (ii) cytochalasin D inhibits EspT-induced EPEC invasion into U937 but not Il-8 or Il-1? secretion. These results suggest that while EPEC translocates a number of effectors (i.e. NleC, NleD, NleE, NleH) that inhibit inflammation, a subset of strains, which encode EspT, employ an infection strategy that also involves upregulation of immune mediators.
Project description:Attaching/Effacing (A/E) pathogens including enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC), enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) and the rodent equivalent Citrobacter rodentium are important causative agents of foodborne diseases. Upon infection, a myriad of virulence proteins (effectors) encoded by A/E pathogens are injected through their conserved type III secretion systems (T3SS) into host cells where they interfere with cell signaling cascades, in particular the nuclear factor kappaB (NF-?B) signaling pathway that orchestrates both innate and adaptive immune responses for host defense. Among the T3SS-secreted non-LEE-encoded (Nle) effectors, NleC, a metalloprotease, has been recently elucidated to modulate host NF-?B signaling by cleaving NF-?B Rel subunits. However, it remains elusive how NleC recognizes NF-?B Rel subunits and how the NleC-mediated cleavage impacts on host immune responses in infected cells and animals. In this study, we show that NleC specifically targets p65/RelA through an interaction with a unique N-terminal sequence in p65. NleC cleaves p65 in intestinal epithelial cells, albeit a small percentage of the molecule, to generate the p65¹?³? fragment during C. rodentium infection in cultured cells. Moreover, the NleC-mediated p65 cleavage substantially affects the expression of a subset of NF-?B target genes encoding proinflammatory cytokines/chemokines, immune cell infiltration in the colon, and tissue injury in C. rodentium-infected mice. Mechanistically, the NleC cleavage-generated p65¹?³? fragment interferes with the interaction between p65 and ribosomal protein S3 (RPS3), a 'specifier' subunit of NF-?B that confers a subset of proinflammatory gene transcription, which amplifies the effect of cleaving only a small percentage of p65 to modulate NF-?B-mediated gene expression. Thus, our results reveal a novel mechanism for A/E pathogens to specifically block NF-?B signaling and inflammatory responses by cleaving a small percentage of p65 and targeting the p65/RPS3 interaction in host cells, thus providing novel insights into the pathogenic mechanisms of foodborne diseases.
Project description:Rapid and specific detection of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) strains with a high level of virulence for humans has become a priority for public health authorities. This study reports on the development of a low-density macroarray for simultaneously testing the genes stx1, stx2, eae, and ehxA and six different nle genes issued from genomic islands OI-122 (ent, nleB, and nleE) and OI-71 (nleF, nleH1-2, and nleA). Various strains of E. coli isolated from the environment, food, animals, and healthy children have been compared with clinical isolates of various seropathotypes. The eae gene was detected in all enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC) strains as well as in enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) strains, except in EHEC O91:H21 and EHEC O113:H21. The gene ehxA was more prevalent in EHEC (90%) than in STEC (42.66%) strains, in which it was unequally distributed. The nle genes were detected only in some EPEC and EHEC strains but with various distributions, showing that nle genes are strain and/or serotype specific, probably reflecting adaptation of the strains to different hosts or environmental niches. One characteristic nle gene distribution in EHEC O157:[H7], O111:[H8], O26:[H11], O103:H25, O118:[H16], O121:[H19], O5:H-, O55:H7, O123:H11, O172:H25, and O165:H25 was ent/espL2, nleB, nleE, nleF, nleH1-2, nleA. (Brackets indicate genotyping of the flic or rfb genes.) A second nle pattern (ent/espL2, nleB, nleE, nleH1-2) was characteristic of EHEC O103:H2, O145:[H28], O45:H2, and O15:H2. The presence of eae, ent/espL2, nleB, nleE, and nleH1-2 genes is a clear signature of STEC strains with high virulence for humans.
Project description:Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) disease depends on the transfer of effector proteins into epithelia lining the human small intestine. EPEC E2348/69 has at least 20 effector genes of which six are located with the effector-delivery system genes on the Locus of Enterocyte Effacement (LEE) Pathogenicity Island. Our previous work implied that non-LEE-encoded (Nle) effectors possess functions that inhibit epithelial anti-microbial and inflammation-inducing responses by blocking NF-?B transcription factor activity. Indeed, screens by us and others have identified novel inhibitory mechanisms for NleC and NleH, with key co-operative functions for NleB1 and NleE1. Here, we demonstrate that the LEE-encoded Translocated-intimin receptor (Tir) effector has a potent and specific ability to inhibit NF-?B activation. Indeed, biochemical, imaging and immunoprecipitation studies reveal a novel inhibitory mechanism whereby Tir interaction with cytoplasm-located TNF? receptor-associated factor (TRAF) adaptor proteins induces their proteasomal-independent degradation. Infection studies support this Tir-TRAF relationship but reveal that Tir, like NleC and NleH, has a non-essential contribution in EPEC's NF-?B inhibitory capacity linked to Tir's activity being suppressed by undefined EPEC factors. Infections in a disease-relevant intestinal model confirm key NF-?B inhibitory roles for the NleB1/NleE1 effectors, with other studies providing insights on host targets. The work not only reveals a second Intimin-independent property for Tir and a novel EPEC effector-mediated NF-?B inhibitory mechanism but also lends itself to speculations on the evolution of EPEC's capacity to inhibit NF-?B function.