Alterations of the Coxiella burnetii Replicative Vacuole Membrane Integrity and Interplay with the Autophagy Pathway

Front. Cell. Infect. Microbiol., 24 April 2017,

Coxiella burnetii, the etiologic agent of Q fever, is a Gram-negative obligate intracellular bacterium. It has been previously described that both the endocytic and autophagic pathways contribute to the Coxiella replicative vacuole (CRV) generation. Galectins are β-galactoside-binding lectins that accumulate in the cytosol before being secreted via a non-conventional secretory pathway. It has been shown that Galectin-3, -8, -9 monitor bacteria vacuolar rupture and endosomal and lysosomal loss of membrane integrity through binding of host glycans exposed in the cytoplasm after membrane damage. Using microinjection of fluorescence-coupled dextrans, a FRET assay, and galectins distribution, we demonstrate that Coxiella infection actually result in transient phagosomal/CRV membrane damage in a Dot/Icm-dependent manner. We also show the association of different adaptor molecules involved in autophagy and of LC3 to the limiting membrane of the CRV. Moreover, we show that upon autophagy inhibition, the proportion of CRVs labeled with galectins and less acidified increases which is associated with bacteria replication impairment. Based on these observations, we propose that autophagy can facilitate resealing of intracellular damaged membranes.

María E. Mansilla Pareja, Antonino Bongiovanni, Frank Lafont and María I. Colombo

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