Recent Submissions

  • Study of the in vivo role of Mce2R, the transcriptional regulator of mce2 operon in Mycobacterium tuberculosis

    Forrellad, Marina A; Bianco, María V; Blanco, Federico C; Nuñez, Javier; Klepp, Laura I; Vazquez, Cristina L; Santangelo, María d l P; Rocha, Rosana V; Soria, Marcelo; Golby, Paul; Gutierrez, Maximiliano G; Bigi, Fabiana (2013-09-05)
    Abstract Background Tuberculosis is one of the leading causes of mortality throughout the world. Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the agent of human tuberculosis, has developed strategies involving proteins and other compounds called virulence factors to subvert human host defences and damage and invade the human host. Among these virulence-related proteins are the Mce proteins, which are encoded in the mce1, mce2, mce3 and mce4 operons of M. tuberculosis. The expression of the mce2 operon is negatively regulated by the Mce2R transcriptional repressor. Here we evaluated the role of Mce2R during the infection of M. tuberculosis in mice and macrophages and defined the genes whose expression is in vitro regulated by this transcriptional repressor. Results We used a specialized transduction method for generating a mce2R mutant of M. tuberculosis H37Rv. Although we found equivalent replication of the MtΔmce2R mutant and the wild type strains in mouse lungs, overexpression of Mce2R in the complemented strain (MtΔmce2RComp) significantly impaired its replication. During in vitro infection of macrophages, we observed a significantly increased association of the late endosomal marker LAMP-2 to MtΔmce2RComp-containing phagosomes as compared to MtΔmce2R and the wild type strains. Whole transcriptional analysis showed that Mce2R regulates mainly the expression of the mce2 operon, in the in vitro conditions studied. Conclusions The findings of the current study indicate that Mce2R weakly represses the in vivo expression of the mce2 operon in the studied conditions and argue for a role of the proteins encoded in Mce2R regulon in the arrest of phagosome maturation induced by M. tuberculosis.
  • Interferon-γ-inducible Rab20 regulates endosomal morphology and EGFR degradation in macrophages.

    Pei, Gang; Schnettger, Laura; Bronietzki, Marc; Repnik, Urska; Griffiths, Gareth; Gutierrez, Maximiliano Gabriel; Helmholtz Centre for infection research (HZI), 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2015-09-01)
    Little is known about the molecular players that regulate changes in the endocytic pathway during immune activation. Here we investigate the role of Rab20 in the endocytic pathway during activation of macrophages. Rab20 is associated with endocytic structures, but the function of this Rab GTPase in the endocytic pathway remains poorly characterized. We find that in macrophages, Rab20 expression and endosomal association significantly increase after interferon-γ (IFN-γ) treatment. Moreover, IFN-γ and Rab20 expression induce a dramatic enlargement of endosomes. These enlarged endosomes are the result of homotypic fusion promoted by Rab20 expression. The expression of Rab20 or the dominant-negative mutant Rab20T19N does not affect transferrin or dextran 70 kDa uptake. However, knockdown of Rab20 accelerates epidermal growth factor (EGF) trafficking to LAMP-2-positive compartments and EGF receptor degradation. Thus this work defines a function for Rab20 in the endocytic pathway during immune activation of macrophages.
  • Identification of an immune-regulated phagosomal Rab cascade in macrophages.

    Pei, Gang; Repnik, Urska; Griffiths, Gareth; Gutierrez, Maximiliano Gabriel; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7 , D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2014-05-01)
    Interferon-γ (IFN-γ) has been shown to regulate phagosome trafficking and function in macrophages, but the molecular mechanisms involved are poorly understood. Here, we identify Rab20 as part of the machinery by which IFN-γ controls phagosome maturation. We found that IFN-γ stimulates the association of Rab20 with early phagosomes in macrophages. By using imaging of single phagosomes in live cells, we found that Rab20 induces an early delay in phagosome maturation and extends the time for which Rab5a and phosphatidylinositol 3-phosphate (PI3P) remain associated with phagosomes. Moreover, Rab20 depletion in macrophages abrogates the delay in phagosome maturation induced by IFN-γ. Finally, we demonstrate that Rab20 interacts with the Rab5a guanine nucleotide exchange factor Rabex-5 (also known as RABGEF1) and that Rab20 knockdown impairs the IFN-γ-dependent recruitment of Rabex-5 and Rab5a into phagosomes. Taken together, here, we uncover Rab20 as a key player in the Rab cascade by which IFN-γ induces a delay in phagosome maturation in macrophages.
  • Experimental selection of long-term intracellular mycobacteria.

    Vázquez, Cristina L; Lerner, Thomas R; Kasmapour, Bahram; Pei, Gang; Gronow, Achim; Bianco, Maria V; Blanco, Federico C; Bleck, Christopher K E; Geffers, Robert; Bigi, Fabiana; Abraham, Wolf-Rainer; Gutierrez, Maximiliano G (2014-09)
    Some intracellular bacteria are known to cause long-term infections that last decades without compromising the viability of the host. Although of critical importance, the adaptations that intracellular bacteria undergo during this long process of residence in a host cell environment remain obscure. Here, we report a novel experimental approach to study the adaptations of mycobacteria imposed by a long-term intracellular lifestyle. Selected Mycobacterium bovis BCG through continuous culture in macrophages underwent an adaptation process leading to impaired phenolic glycolipids (PGL) synthesis, improved usage of glucose as a carbon source and accumulation of neutral lipids. These changes correlated with increased survival of mycobacteria in macrophages and mice during re-infection and also with the specific expression of stress- and survival-related genes. Our findings identify bacterial traits implicated in the establishment of long-term cellular infections and represent a tool for understanding the physiological states and the environment that bacteria face living in fluctuating intracellular environments.
  • Internalization, phagolysosomal biogenesis and killing of mycobacteria in enucleated epithelial cells.

    de Souza Carvalho, Cristiane; Kasmapour, Bahram; Gronow, Achim; Rohde, Manfred; Rabinovitch, Michel; Gutierrez, Maximiliano Gabriel; Department of Vaccinology and Applied Microbiology, Research Group Phagosome Biology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Inhoffenstrasse 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2011-08)
    Bacterial and parasitic intracellular pathogens or their secreted products have been shown to induce host cell transcriptional responses, which may benefit the host, favour the microorganism or be unrelated to the infection. In most instances, however, it is not known if the host cell nucleus is proximately required for the development of an intracellular infection. This information can be obtained by the infection of artificially enucleated host cells (cytoplasts). This model, although rather extensively used in studies of viral infection, has only been applied to few bacterial pathogens, which do not include Mycobacterium spp. Here, we investigate the internalization, phagosome biogenesis and survival of M. smegmatis in enucleated type II alveolar epithelial cells. Cytoplasts were infected with M. smegmatis, but the percentage of infection was significantly lower than that of nucleated cells. Scanning electron microscopy indicated that in both cells and cytoplasts, bacteria were internalized by a phagocytosis-like mechanism. Interestingly, phagosome fusion with lysosomes and mycobacterial killing were both more efficient in enucleated than in nucleated cells, a finding that may be correlated with the increased number of autophagic vesicles developed in cytoplasts. We provide evidence that although quantitative changes were observed, the full development of the infection, as well as mycobacterial killing did not require the presence of the host cell nucleus.
  • Golgi-to-phagosome transport of acid sphingomyelinase and prosaposin is mediated by sortilin.

    Wähe, Anna; Kasmapour, Bahram; Schmaderer, Christoph; Liebl, David; Sandhoff, Konrad; Nykjaer, Anders; Griffiths, Gareth; Gutierrez, Maximiliano G; European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Postfach 102209, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany. (2010-07-15)
    Sortilin, also known as neurotensin receptor 3 (NTR3), is a transmembrane protein with a dual function. It acts as a receptor for neuromediators and growth factors at the plasma membrane, but it has also been implicated in binding and transport of some lysosomal proteins. However, the role of sortilin during phagosome maturation has not been investigated before. Here, we show that in macrophages, sortilin is mainly localized in the Golgi and transported to latex-bead phagosomes (LBPs). Using live-cell imaging and electron microscopy, we found that sortilin is delivered to LBPs in a manner that depends on its cytoplasmic tail. We also show that sortilin participates in the direct delivery of acid sphingomyelinase (ASM) and prosaposin (PS) to the phagosome, bypassing fusion with lysosomal compartments. Further analysis confirmed that ASM and PS are targeted to the phagosome by sortilin in a Brefeldin-A-sensitive pathway. Analysis of primary macrophages isolated from Sort1(-/-) mice indicated that the delivery of ASM and PS, but not pro-cathepsin D, to LBPs was severely impaired. We propose a pathway mediated by sortilin by which selected lysosomal proteins are transported to the phagosome along a Golgi-dependent route during the maturation of phagosomes.