ResearchPad - legionella-pneumophila https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Structure and functional analysis of the <i>Legionella pneumophila</i> chitinase ChiA reveals a novel mechanism of metal-dependent mucin degradation]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14652 A broad range of organisms produce chitinase enzymes that digest chitin, the second most abundant carbohydrate on earth. Chitinases have also been identified that are important factors in major bacterial diseases but it is unclear how. Legionella pneumophila causes Legionnaires’ disease, a severe form of pneumonia, and its chitinase ChiA is essential for the survival of L. pneumophila during infection of the lung. Using structural biology and microbiology methods we have determined that ChiA can associate with the L. pneumophila surface and along with other outer membrane proteins can also bind mammalian mucins. We also identified a new and unique enzyme mechanism where L. pneumophila ChiA can hydrolyse the peptide bonds of mucin-like proteins. Mucins are major components of the mucous that lines the surface of the respiratory, digestive, and urogenital tracts and acts as a first line of defence during infection. This is the first mechanistic understanding of how a chitinase can promote disease through additional peptidase activity and suggests that L. pneumophila ChiA can modulate host immune responses and disperse host mucosa during infection.

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<![CDATA[Search for MicroRNAs Expressed by Intracellular Bacterial Pathogens in Infected Mammalian Cells]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daafab0ee8fa60baa994

MicroRNAs are expressed by all multicellular organisms and play a critical role as post-transcriptional regulators of gene expression. Moreover, different microRNA species are known to influence the progression of a range of different diseases, including cancer and microbial infections. A number of different human viruses also encode microRNAs that can attenuate cellular innate immune responses and promote viral replication, and a fungal pathogen that infects plants has recently been shown to express microRNAs in infected cells that repress host cell immune responses and promote fungal pathogenesis. Here, we have used deep sequencing of total expressed small RNAs, as well as small RNAs associated with the cellular RNA-induced silencing complex RISC, to search for microRNAs that are potentially expressed by intracellular bacterial pathogens and translocated into infected animal cells. In the case of Legionella and Chlamydia and the two mycobacterial species M. smegmatis and M. tuberculosis, we failed to detect any bacterial small RNAs that had the characteristics expected for authentic microRNAs, although large numbers of small RNAs of bacterial origin could be recovered. However, a third mycobacterial species, M. marinum, did express an ∼23-nt small RNA that was bound by RISC and derived from an RNA stem-loop with the characteristics expected for a pre-microRNA. While intracellular expression of this candidate bacterial microRNA was too low to effectively repress target mRNA species in infected cultured cells in vitro, artificial overexpression of this potential bacterial pre-microRNA did result in the efficient repression of a target mRNA. This bacterial small RNA therefore represents the first candidate microRNA of bacterial origin.

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<![CDATA[Approach to determine the diversity of Legionella species by nested PCR-DGGE in aquatic environments]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db4fab0ee8fa60bdb8a7

In this study, we describe a nested PCR-DGGE strategy to detect Legionella communities from river water samples. The nearly full-length 16S rRNA gene was amplified using bacterial primer in the first step. After, the amplicons were employed as DNA templates in the second PCR using Legionella specific primer. The third round of gene amplification was conducted to gain PCR fragments apposite for DGGE analysis. Then the total numbers of amplified genes were observed in DGGE bands of products gained with primers specific for the diversity of Legionella species. The DGGE patterns are thus potential for a high-throughput preliminary determination of aquatic environmental Legionella species before sequencing. Comparative DNA sequence analysis of excised DGGE unique band patterns showed the identity of the Legionella community members, including a reference profile with two pathogenic species of Legionella strains. In addition, only members of Legionella pneumophila and uncultured Legionella sp. were detected. Development of three step nested PCR-DGGE tactic is seen as a useful method for studying the diversity of Legionella community. The method is rapid and provided sequence information for phylogenetic analysis.

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<![CDATA[Necessity and Effect of Combating Legionella pneumophila in Municipal Shower Systems]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da23ab0ee8fa60b7f9da

The objective was to obtain research-based, holistic knowledge about necessity and effect of practiced measures against L. pneumophila in municipal shower systems in Stavanger, Norway. The effects of hot water treatment and membrane-filtering were investigated and compared to no intervention at all. The studies were done under real-world conditions. Additionally, a surveillance pilot study of municipal showers in Stavanger was performed. The validity of high total plate count (TPC) as an indication of L. pneumophila was evaluated. A simplified method, named “dripping method”, for detection and quantification of L. pneumophila was developed. The sensitivity of the dripping method is 5 colony-forming units of L. pneumophila/ml. The transference of L. pneumophila from shower water to aerosols was studied. Interviews and observational studies among the stakeholders were done in order to identify patterns of communication and behavior in a Legionella risk perspective. No substantial effects of the measures against L. pneumophila were demonstrated, except for a distally placed membrane filter. No significant positive correlation between TPC and L. pneumophila concentrations were found. L. pneumophila serogroup 2–14 was demonstrated in 21% of the 29 buildings tested in the surveillance pilot. Relatively few cells of L. pneumophila were transferred from shower water to aerosols. Anxiety appeared as the major driving force in the risk governance of Legionella. In conclusion, the risk of acquiring Legionnaires' disease from municipal shower systems is evaluated as low and uncertain. By eliminating ineffective approaches, targeted Legionella risk governance can be practiced. Risk management by surveillance is evaluated as appropriate.

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<![CDATA[Legionella pneumophila-Derived Outer Membrane Vesicles Promote Bacterial Replication in Macrophages]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db3eab0ee8fa60bd5c38

The formation and release of outer membrane vesicles (OMVs) is a phenomenon of Gram-negative bacteria. This includes Legionella pneumophila (L. pneumophila), a causative agent of severe pneumonia. Upon its transmission into the lung, L. pneumophila primarily infects and replicates within macrophages. Here, we analyzed the influence of L. pneumophila OMVs on macrophages. To this end, differentiated THP-1 cells were incubated with increasing doses of Legionella OMVs, leading to a TLR2-dependent classical activation of macrophages with the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Inhibition of TLR2 and NF-κB signaling reduced the induction of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Furthermore, treatment of THP-1 cells with OMVs prior to infection reduced replication of L. pneumophila in THP-1 cells. Blocking of TLR2 activation or heat denaturation of OMVs restored bacterial replication in the first 24 h of infection. With prolonged infection-time, OMV pre-treated macrophages became more permissive for bacterial replication than untreated cells and showed increased numbers of Legionella-containing vacuoles and reduced pro-inflammatory cytokine induction. Additionally, miRNA-146a was found to be transcriptionally induced by OMVs and to facilitate bacterial replication. Accordingly, IRAK-1, one of miRNA-146a’s targets, showed prolonged activation-dependent degradation, which rendered THP-1 cells more permissive for Legionella replication. In conclusion, L. pneumophila OMVs are initially potent pro-inflammatory stimulators of macrophages, acting via TLR2, IRAK-1, and NF-κB, while at later time points, OMVs facilitate L. pneumophila replication by miR-146a-dependent IRAK-1 suppression. OMVs might thereby promote spreading of L. pneumophila in the host.

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<![CDATA[The Influence of Programmed Cell Death in Myeloid Cells on Host Resilience to Infection with Legionella pneumophila or Streptococcus pyogenes]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daebab0ee8fa60bbf207

Pathogen clearance and host resilience/tolerance to infection are both important factors in surviving an infection. Cells of the myeloid lineage play important roles in both of these processes. Neutrophils, monocytes, macrophages, and dendritic cells all have important roles in initiation of the immune response and clearance of bacterial pathogens. If these cells are not properly regulated they can result in excessive inflammation and immunopathology leading to decreased host resilience. Programmed cell death (PCD) is one possible mechanism that myeloid cells may use to prevent excessive inflammation. Myeloid cell subsets play roles in tissue repair, immune response resolution, and maintenance of homeostasis, so excessive PCD may also influence host resilience in this way. In addition, myeloid cell death is one mechanism used to control pathogen replication and dissemination. Many of these functions for PCD have been well defined in vitro, but the role in vivo is less well understood. We created a mouse that constitutively expresses the pro-survival B-cell lymphoma (bcl)-2 protein in myeloid cells (CD68(bcl2tg), thus decreasing PCD specifically in myeloid cells. Using this mouse model we explored the impact that decreased cell death of these cells has on infection with two different bacterial pathogens, Legionella pneumophila and Streptococcus pyogenes. Both of these pathogens target multiple cell death pathways in myeloid cells, and the expression of bcl2 resulted in decreased PCD after infection. We examined both pathogen clearance and host resilience and found that myeloid cell death was crucial for host resilience. Surprisingly, the decreased myeloid PCD had minimal impact on pathogen clearance. These data indicate that the most important role of PCD during infection with these bacteria is to minimize inflammation and increase host resilience, not to aid in the clearance or prevent the spread of the pathogen.

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<![CDATA[Genomic Analysis Reveals Novel Diversity among the 1976 Philadelphia Legionnaires’ Disease Outbreak Isolates and Additional ST36 Strains]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daa8ab0ee8fa60ba868e

Legionella pneumophila was first recognized as a cause of severe and potentially fatal pneumonia during a large-scale outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease (LD) at a Pennsylvania veterans’ convention in Philadelphia, 1976. The ensuing investigation and recovery of four clinical isolates launched the fields of Legionella epidemiology and scientific research. Only one of the original isolates, “Philadelphia-1”, has been widely distributed or extensively studied. Here we describe the whole-genome sequencing (WGS), complete assembly, and comparative analysis of all Philadelphia LD strains recovered from that investigation, along with L. pneumophila isolates sharing the Philadelphia sequence type (ST36). Analyses revealed that the 1976 outbreak was due to multiple serogroup 1 strains within the same genetic lineage, differentiated by an actively mobilized, self-replicating episome that is shared with L. pneumophila str. Paris, and two large, horizontally-transferred genomic loci, among other polymorphisms. We also found a completely unassociated ST36 strain that displayed remarkable genetic similarity to the historical Philadelphia isolates. This similar strain implies the presence of a potential clonal population, and suggests important implications may exist for considering epidemiological context when interpreting phylogenetic relationships among outbreak-associated isolates. Additional extensive archival research identified the Philadelphia isolate associated with a non-Legionnaire case of “Broad Street pneumonia”, and provided new historical and genetic insights into the 1976 epidemic. This retrospective analysis has underscored the utility of fully-assembled WGS data for Legionella outbreak investigations, highlighting the increased resolution that comes from long-read sequencing and a sequence type-matched genomic data set.

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<![CDATA[Neutrophil and Alveolar Macrophage-Mediated Innate Immune Control of Legionella pneumophila Lung Infection via TNF and ROS]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dab2ab0ee8fa60babdfb

Legionella pneumophila is a facultative intracellular bacterium that lives in aquatic environments where it parasitizes amoeba. However, upon inhalation of contaminated aerosols it can infect and replicate in human alveolar macrophages, which can result in Legionnaires’ disease, a severe form of pneumonia. Upon experimental airway infection of mice, L. pneumophila is rapidly controlled by innate immune mechanisms. Here we identified, on a cell-type specific level, the key innate effector functions responsible for rapid control of infection. In addition to the well-characterized NLRC4-NAIP5 flagellin recognition pathway, tumor necrosis factor (TNF) and reactive oxygen species (ROS) are also essential for effective innate immune control of L. pneumophila. While ROS are essential for the bactericidal activity of neutrophils, alveolar macrophages (AM) rely on neutrophil and monocyte-derived TNF signaling via TNFR1 to restrict bacterial replication. This TNF-mediated antibacterial mechanism depends on the acidification of lysosomes and their fusion with L. pneumophila containing vacuoles (LCVs), as well as caspases with a minor contribution from cysteine-type cathepsins or calpains, and is independent of NLRC4, caspase-1, caspase-11 and NOX2. This study highlights the differential utilization of innate effector pathways to curtail intracellular bacterial replication in specific host cells upon L. pneumophila airway infection.

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<![CDATA[microRNA-125a-3p is regulated by MyD88 in Legionella pneumophila infection and targets NTAN1]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db59ab0ee8fa60bdf12b

Background

Legionella pneumophila (L. pneumophila) is a causative agent of severe pneumonia. It is highly adapted to intracellular replication and manipulates host cell functions like vesicle trafficking and mRNA translation to its own advantage. However, it is still unknown to what extent microRNAs (miRNAs) are involved in the Legionella-host cell interaction.

Methods

WT and MyD88-/- murine bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMM) were infected with L. pneumophila, the transcriptome was analyzed by high throughput qPCR array (microRNAs) and conventional qPCR (mRNAs), and mRNA-miRNA interaction was validated by luciferase assays with 3´-UTR mutations and western blot.

Results

L. pneumophila infection caused a pro-inflammatory reaction and significant miRNA changes in murine macrophages. In MyD88-/- cells, induction of inflammatory markers, such as Ccxl1/Kc, Il6 and miR-146a-5p was reduced. Induction of miR-125a-3p was completely abrogated in MyD88-/- cells. Target prediction analyses revealed N-terminal asparagine amidase 1 (NTAN1), a factor from the n-end rule pathway, to be a putative target of miR-125a-3p. This interaction could be confirmed by luciferase assay and western blot.

Conclusion

Taken together, we characterized the miRNA regulation in L. pneumophila infection with regard to MyD88 signaling and identified NTAN1 as a target of miR-125a-3p. This finding unravels a yet unknown feature of Legionella-host cell interaction, potentially relevant for new treatment options.

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<![CDATA[Neutrophils and Ly6Chi monocytes collaborate in generating an optimal cytokine response that protects against pulmonary Legionella pneumophila infection]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5aab0ee8fa60bdf348

Early responses mounted by both tissue-resident and recruited innate immune cells are essential for host defense against bacterial pathogens. In particular, both neutrophils and Ly6Chi monocytes are rapidly recruited to sites of infection. While neutrophils and monocytes produce bactericidal molecules, such as reactive nitrogen and oxygen species, both cell types are also capable of synthesizing overlapping sets of cytokines important for host defense. Whether neutrophils and monocytes perform redundant or non-redundant functions in the generation of anti-microbial cytokine responses remains elusive. Here, we sought to define the contributions of neutrophils and Ly6Chi monocytes to cytokine production and host defense during pulmonary infection with Legionella pneumophila, responsible for the severe pneumonia Legionnaires’ disease. We found that both neutrophils and monocytes are critical for host defense against L. pneumophila. Both monocytes and neutrophils contribute to maximal IL-12 and IFNγ responses, and monocytes are also required for TNF production. Moreover, natural killer (NK) cells, NKT cells, and γδ T cells are sources of IFNγ, and monocytes direct IFNγ production by these cell types. Thus, neutrophils and monocytes cooperate in eliciting an optimal cytokine response that promotes effective control of bacterial infection.

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<![CDATA[Transcriptional Profiling of Coxiella burnetii Reveals Extensive Cell Wall Remodeling in the Small Cell Variant Developmental Form]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da96ab0ee8fa60ba1bc9

A hallmark of Coxiella burnetii, the bacterial cause of human Q fever, is a biphasic developmental cycle that generates biologically, ultrastructurally, and compositionally distinct large cell variant (LCV) and small cell variant (SCV) forms. LCVs are replicating, exponential phase forms while SCVs are non-replicating, stationary phase forms. The SCV has several properties, such as a condensed nucleoid and an unusual cell envelope, suspected of conferring enhanced environmental stability. To identify genetic determinants of the LCV to SCV transition, we profiled the C. burnetii transcriptome at 3 (early LCV), 5 (late LCV), 7 (intermediate forms), 14 (early SCV), and 21 days (late SCV) post-infection of Vero epithelial cells. Relative to early LCV, genes downregulated in the SCV were primarily involved in intermediary metabolism. Upregulated SCV genes included those involved in oxidative stress responses, arginine acquisition, and cell wall remodeling. A striking transcriptional signature of the SCV was induction (>7-fold) of five genes encoding predicted L,D transpeptidases that catalyze nonclassical 3–3 peptide cross-links in peptidoglycan (PG), a modification that can influence several biological traits in bacteria. Accordingly, of cross-links identified, muropeptide analysis showed PG of SCV with 46% 3–3 cross-links as opposed to 16% 3–3 cross-links for LCV. Moreover, electron microscopy revealed SCV with an unusually dense cell wall/outer membrane complex as compared to LCV with its clearly distinguishable periplasm and inner and outer membranes. Collectively, these results indicate the SCV produces a unique transcriptome with a major component directed towards remodeling a PG layer that likely contributes to Coxiella’s environmental resistance.

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<![CDATA[Cooperation between Monocyte-Derived Cells and Lymphoid Cells in the Acute Response to a Bacterial Lung Pathogen]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db2eab0ee8fa60bd1d2f

Legionella pneumophila is the causative agent of Legionnaires’ disease, a potentially fatal lung infection. Alveolar macrophages support intracellular replication of L. pneumophila, however the contributions of other immune cell types to bacterial killing during infection are unclear. Here, we used recently described methods to characterise the major inflammatory cells in lung after acute respiratory infection of mice with L. pneumophila. We observed that the numbers of alveolar macrophages rapidly decreased after infection coincident with a rapid infiltration of the lung by monocyte-derived cells (MC), which, together with neutrophils, became the dominant inflammatory cells associated with the bacteria. Using mice in which the ability of MC to infiltrate tissues is impaired it was found that MC were required for bacterial clearance and were the major source of IL12. IL12 was needed to induce IFNγ production by lymphoid cells including NK cells, memory T cells, NKT cells and γδ T cells. Memory T cells that produced IFNγ appeared to be circulating effector/memory T cells that infiltrated the lung after infection. IFNγ production by memory T cells was stimulated in an antigen-independent fashion and could effectively clear bacteria from the lung indicating that memory T cells are an important contributor to innate bacterial defence. We also determined that a major function of IFNγ was to stimulate bactericidal activity of MC. On the other hand, neutrophils did not require IFNγ to kill bacteria and alveolar macrophages remained poorly bactericidal even in the presence of IFNγ. This work has revealed a cooperative innate immune circuit between lymphoid cells and MC that combats acute L. pneumophila infection and defines a specific role for IFNγ in anti-bacterial immunity.

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<![CDATA[IFNs Modify the Proteome of Legionella-Containing Vacuoles and Restrict Infection Via IRG1-Derived Itaconic Acid]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db4eab0ee8fa60bdb64b

Macrophages can be niches for bacterial pathogens or antibacterial effector cells depending on the pathogen and signals from the immune system. Here we show that type I and II IFNs are master regulators of gene expression during Legionella pneumophila infection, and activators of an alveolar macrophage-intrinsic immune response that restricts bacterial growth during pneumonia. Quantitative mass spectrometry revealed that both IFNs substantially modify Legionella-containing vacuoles, and comparative analyses reveal distinct subsets of transcriptionally and spatially IFN-regulated proteins. Immune-responsive gene (IRG)1 is induced by IFNs in mitochondria that closely associate with Legionella-containing vacuoles, and mediates production of itaconic acid. This metabolite is bactericidal against intravacuolar L. pneumophila as well as extracellular multidrug-resistant Gram-positive and -negative bacteria. Our study explores the overall role IFNs play in inducing substantial remodeling of bacterial vacuoles and in stimulating production of IRG1-derived itaconic acid which targets intravacuolar pathogens. IRG1 or its product itaconic acid might be therapeutically targetable to fight intracellular and drug-resistant bacteria.

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<![CDATA[The Legionella pneumophila genome evolved to accommodate multiple regulatory mechanisms controlled by the CsrA-system]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db53ab0ee8fa60bdcdc3

The carbon storage regulator protein CsrA regulates cellular processes post-transcriptionally by binding to target-RNAs altering translation efficiency and/or their stability. Here we identified and analyzed the direct targets of CsrA in the human pathogen Legionella pneumophila. Genome wide transcriptome, proteome and RNA co-immunoprecipitation followed by deep sequencing of a wild type and a csrA mutant strain identified 479 RNAs with potential CsrA interaction sites located in the untranslated and/or coding regions of mRNAs or of known non-coding sRNAs. Further analyses revealed that CsrA exhibits a dual regulatory role in virulence as it affects the expression of the regulators FleQ, LqsR, LetE and RpoS but it also directly regulates the timely expression of over 40 Dot/Icm substrates. CsrA controls its own expression and the stringent response through a regulatory feedback loop as evidenced by its binding to RelA-mRNA and links it to quorum sensing and motility. CsrA is a central player in the carbon, amino acid, fatty acid metabolism and energy transfer and directly affects the biosynthesis of cofactors, vitamins and secondary metabolites. We describe the first L. pneumophila riboswitch, a thiamine pyrophosphate riboswitch whose regulatory impact is fine-tuned by CsrA, and identified a unique regulatory mode of CsrA, the active stabilization of RNA anti-terminator conformations inside a coding sequence preventing Rho-dependent termination of the gap operon through transcriptional polarity effects. This allows L. pneumophila to regulate the pentose phosphate pathway and the glycolysis combined or individually although they share genes in a single operon. Thus the L. pneumophila genome has evolved to acclimate at least five different modes of regulation by CsrA giving it a truly unique position in its life cycle.

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<![CDATA[MTOR-Driven Metabolic Reprogramming Regulates Legionella pneumophila Intracellular Niche Homeostasis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da7aab0ee8fa60b98247

Vacuolar bacterial pathogens are sheltered within unique membrane-bound organelles that expand over time to support bacterial replication. These compartments sequester bacterial molecules away from host cytosolic immunosurveillance pathways that induce antimicrobial responses. The mechanisms by which the human pulmonary pathogen Legionella pneumophila maintains niche homeostasis are poorly understood. We uncovered that the Legionella-containing vacuole (LCV) required a sustained supply of host lipids during expansion. Lipids shortage resulted in LCV rupture and initiation of a host cell death response, whereas excess of host lipids increased LCVs size and housing capacity. We found that lipids uptake from serum and de novo lipogenesis are distinct redundant supply mechanisms for membrane biogenesis in Legionella-infected macrophages. During infection, the metabolic checkpoint kinase Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin (MTOR) controlled lipogenesis through the Serum Response Element Binding Protein 1 and 2 (SREBP1/2) transcription factors. In Legionella-infected macrophages a host-driven response that required the Toll-like receptors (TLRs) adaptor protein Myeloid differentiation primary response gene 88 (Myd88) dampened MTOR signaling which in turn destabilized LCVs under serum starvation. Inactivation of the host MTOR-suppression pathway revealed that L. pneumophila sustained MTOR signaling throughout its intracellular infection cycle by a process that required the upstream regulator Phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate 3-kinase (PI3K) and one or more Dot/Icm effector proteins. Legionella-sustained MTOR signaling facilitated LCV expansion and inhibition of the PI3K-MTOR-SREPB1/2 axis through pharmacological or genetic interference or by activation of the host MTOR-suppression response destabilized expanding LCVs, which in turn triggered cell death of infected macrophages. Our work identified a host metabolic requirement for LCV homeostasis and demonstrated that L. pneumophila has evolved to manipulate MTOR-dependent lipogenesis for optimal intracellular replication.

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<![CDATA[Seeing red; the development of pON.mCherry, a broad-host range constitutive expression plasmid for Gram-negative bacteria]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db50ab0ee8fa60bdbd68

The development of plasmid-mediated gene expression control in bacteria revolutionized the field of bacteriology. Many of these expression control systems rely on the addition of small molecules, generally metabolites or non-metabolized analogs thereof, to the growth medium to induce expression of the genes of interest. The paradigmatic example of an expression control system is the lac system from Escherichia coli, which typically relies on the Ptac promoter and the Lac repressor, LacI. In many cases, however, constitutive gene expression is desired, and other experimental approaches require the coordinated control of multiple genes. While multiple systems have been developed for use in E. coli and its close relatives, the utility and/or functionality of these tools does not always translate to other species. For example, for the Gram-negative pathogen, Legionella pneumophila, a causative agent of Legionnaires’ Disease, the aforementioned Ptac system represents the only well-established expression control system. In order to enhance the tools available to study bacterial gene expression in L. pneumophila, we developed a plasmid, pON.mCherry, which confers constitutive gene expression from a mutagenized LacI binding site. We demonstrate that pON.mCherry neither interferes with other plasmids harboring an intact LacI-Ptac expression system nor alters the growth of Legionella species during intracellular growth. Furthermore, the broad-host range plasmid backbone of pON.mCherry allows constitutive gene expression in a wide variety of Gram-negative bacterial species, making pON.mCherry a useful tool for the greater research community.

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<![CDATA[Intragenic Recombination Has a Critical Role on the Evolution of Legionella pneumophila Virulence-Related Effector sidJ]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daf6ab0ee8fa60bc31af

SidJ is a Dot/Icm effector involved in the trafficking or retention of ER-derived vesicles to Legionella pneumophila vacuoles whose mutation causes an observable growth defect, both in macrophage and amoeba hosts. Given the crucial role of this effector in L. pneumophila virulence we investigated the mechanisms shaping its molecular evolution. The alignment of SidJ sequences revealed several alleles with amino acid variations that may influence the protein properties. The identification of HGT events and the detection of balancing selection operating on sidJ evolution emerge as a clear result. Evidence suggests that intragenic recombination is an important strategy in the evolutionary adaptive process playing an active role on sidJ genetic plasticity. This pattern of evolution is in accordance with the life style of L. pneumophila as a broad host-range pathogen by preventing host-specialization and contributing to the resilience of the species.

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<![CDATA[A Legionella Effector Disrupts Host Cytoskeletal Structure by Cleaving Actin]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db54ab0ee8fa60bdd02b

Legionella pneumophila, the etiological agent of Legionnaires’ disease, replicates intracellularly in protozoan and human hosts. Successful colonization and replication of this pathogen in host cells requires the Dot/Icm type IVB secretion system, which translocates approximately 300 effector proteins into the host cell to modulate various cellular processes. In this study, we identified RavK as a Dot/Icm substrate that targets the host cytoskeleton and reduces actin filament abundance in mammalian cells upon ectopic expression. RavK harbors an H95EXXH99 motif associated with diverse metalloproteases, which is essential for the inhibition of yeast growth and for the induction of cell rounding in HEK293T cells. We demonstrate that the actin protein itself is the cellular target of RavK and that this effector cleaves actin at a site between residues Thr351 and Phe352. Importantly, RavK-mediated actin cleavage also occurs during L. pneumophila infection. Cleavage by RavK abolishes the ability of actin to form polymers. Furthermore, an F352A mutation renders actin resistant to RavK-mediated cleavage; expression of the mutant in mammalian cells suppresses the cell rounding phenotype caused by RavK, further establishing that actin is the physiological substrate of RavK. Thus, L. pneumophila exploits components of the host cytoskeleton by multiple effectors with distinct mechanisms, highlighting the importance of modulating cellular processes governed by the actin cytoskeleton in the intracellular life cycle of this pathogen.

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<![CDATA[Molecular Typing of Legionella pneumophila Isolates in the Province of Quebec from 2005 to 2015]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dab0ab0ee8fa60bab353

Legionella is found in natural and man-made aquatic environments, such as cooling towers and hot water plumbing infrastructures. Legionella pneumophila serogroup 1 (Lp1) is the most common etiological agent causing waterborne disease in the United States and Canada. This study reports the molecular characterization of Lp strains during a 10 year period. We conducted sequence-based typing (SBT) analysis on a large set of Lp isolates (n = 284) to investigate the province of Quebec sequence types (STs) distribution in order to identify dominant clusters. From 2005 to 2015, 181 clinical Lp isolates were typed by SBT (141 sporadic cases and 40 outbreak related cases). From the same period of time, 103 environmental isolates were also typed. Amongst the 108 sporadic cases of Lp1 typed, ST-62 was the most frequent (16.6%), followed by ST-213 (10.2%), ST-1 (8.3%) and ST-37 (8.3%). Amongst other serogroups (SG), ST-1327 (SG5) (27.3%) and ST-378 (SG10) (12.2%) were the most frequent. From the environmental isolates, ST-1 represent the more frequent SBT type (26.5%). Unweighted pair group method with arithmetic mean (UPGMA) dendrogram from the 108 sporadic cases of SG1 contains 4 major clusters (A to D) of related STs. Cluster B contains the majority of the strains (n = 61) and the three most frequent STs in our database (ST-62, ST-213 and ST-1). During the study period, we observed an important increase in the incidence rate in Quebec. All the community associated outbreaks, potentially or confirmed to be associated with a cooling tower were caused by Lp1 strains, by opposition to hospital associated outbreaks that were caused by serogroups of Lp other than SG1. The recent major Quebec City outbreak caused by ST-62, and the fact that this genotype is the most common in the province supports whole genome sequencing characterization of this particular sequence type in order to understand its evolution and associated virulence factors.

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<![CDATA[The Legionella pneumophila GIG operon responds to gold and copper in planktonic and biofilm cultures]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5aab0ee8fa60bdf513

Legionella pneumophila contaminates man-made water systems and creates numerous exposure risks for Legionnaires’ Disease. Because copper/silver ionization is commonly used to control L. pneumophila, its mechanisms of metal response and detoxification are of significant interest. Here we describe an L. pneumophila operon with significant similarity to the GIG operon of Cupriavidus metallidurans. The Legionella GIG operon is present in a subset of strains and has been acquired as part of the ICE-βox 65-kB integrative conjugative element. We assessed GIG promoter activity following exposure of L. pneumophila to multiple concentrations of HAuCl4, CuSO4 and AgNO3. At 37°C, control stationary phase cultures exhibited GIG promoter activity. This activity increased significantly in response to 20 and 50uM HAuCl4 and CuSO4 but not in response to AgNO3. Conversely, at 26°C, cultures exhibited decreased promoter response to copper. GIG promoter activity was also induced by HAuCl4 or CuSO4 during early biofilm establishment at both temperatures. When an L. pneumophila GIG promoter construct was transformed into E. coli DH5α, cultures showed baseline expression levels that did not increase following metal addition. Analysis of L. pneumophila transcriptional regulatory mutants suggested that GIG up-regulation in the presence of metal ions may be influenced by the stationary phase sigma factor, RpoS.

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