1887

Abstract

In an model using HEp-2 cells treated with purified plasmid-encoded toxin (Pet), we have identified morphological changes characterized by cell rounding and detachment after toxin internalization; these changes progress to cell death. However, these effects have not yet been shown to occur during the infection of epithelial cells by enteroaggregative (EAEC). Here, we show that the secretion of Pet by EAEC is regulated at the transcriptional level, since secretion was inhibited in eukaryotic cell culture medium, although Pet was efficiently secreted in the same medium supplemented with tryptone. Inefficient secretion of Pet by EAEC in DMEM prevented cell detachment, whereas efficient Pet secretion in DMEM/tryptone increased cell detachment in a HEp-2 cell adherence assay. Interestingly, Pet toxin was efficiently delivered to epithelial cells, since it was internalized into epithelial cells infected with EAEC at similar concentrations to those obtained by using 37 μg ml purified Pet protein. Additionally, Pet was not internalized when the epithelial cells were infected with a clone, HB101(pCEFN1), unlike the wild-type strain, which has a high adherence capability. There is a correlation between Pet secretion by EAEC, the internalization of Pet into epithelial cells, cell detachment and cell death in EAEC-infected cells. The ratio between live and dead cells decreased in cells treated with wild-type EAEC in comparison with cells treated with an isogenic mutant in the gene, whereas the effects were restored by complementing the mutant with the gene. All these data indicate that Pet is an important virulence factor in the pathogenesis of EAEC infection.

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2009-09-01
2019-10-15
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