Enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC) is an extracellular diarrheagenic human pathogen which infects the apical plasma membrane of the small intestinal enterocytes. EPEC utilizes a type III secretion system to translocate bacterial effector proteins into its epithelial hosts. This activity, which subverts numerous signaling and membrane trafficking pathways in the infected cells, is thought to contribute to pathogen virulence. The molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying these events are not well understood. We investigated the mode by which EPEC effectors hijack endosomes to modulate endocytosis, recycling and transcytosis in epithelial host cells. To this end, we developed a flow cytometry-based assay and imaging techniques to track endosomal dynamics and membrane cargo trafficking in the infected cells. We show that type-III secreted components prompt the recruitment of clathrin (clathrin and AP2), early (Rab5a and EEA1) and recycling (Rab4a, Rab11a, Rab11b, FIP2, Myo5b) endocytic machineries to peripheral plasma membrane infection sites. Protein cargoes, e.g. transferrin receptors, β1 integrins and aquaporins, which exploit the endocytic pathways mediated by these machineries, were also found to be recruited to these sites. Moreover, the endosomes and cargo recruitment to infection sites correlated with an increase in cargo endocytic turnover (i.e. endocytosis and recycling) and transcytosis to the infected plasma membrane. The hijacking of endosomes and associated endocytic activities depended on the translocated EspF and Map effectors in non-polarized epithelial cells, and mostly on EspF in polarized epithelial cells. These data suggest a model whereby EPEC effectors hijack endosomal recycling mechanisms to mislocalize and concentrate host plasma membrane proteins in endosomes and in the apically infected plasma membrane. We hypothesize that these activities contribute to bacterial colonization and virulence.
Enteropathogenic (EPEC) belongs to a group of enteric human pathogens known as attaching-and-effacing (A/E) pathogens, which utilize a type III secretion system (T3SS) to translocate a battery of effector proteins from their own cytoplasm into host intestinal epithelial cells. Here we identified EspH to be an effector that prompts the recruitment of the tetraspanin CD81 to infection sites. EspH was also shown to be an effector that suppresses the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK)/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (Erk) signaling pathway at longer infection times. The inhibitory effect was abrogated upon deletion of the last 38 amino acids located at the C terminus of the protein. The efficacy of EspH-dependent Erk suppression was higher in CD81-deficient cells, suggesting that CD81 may act as a positive regulator of Erk, counteracting Erk suppression by EspH. EspH was found within CD81 microdomains soon after infection but was largely excluded from these domains at a later time. Based on our results, we propose a mechanism whereby CD81 is initially recruited to infection sites in response to EspH translocation. At a later stage, EspH moves out of the CD81 clusters to facilitate effective Erk inhibition. Moreover, EspH selectively inhibits the tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α)-induced Erk signaling pathway. Since Erk and TNF-α have been implicated in innate immunity and cell survival, our studies suggest a novel mechanism by which EPEC suppresses these processes to promote its own colonization and survival in the infected gut.
Force controlled optical imaging of membranes of living cells is demonstrated. Such imaging has been extended to image membrane potential changes to demonstrate that live cell imaging has been achieved. To accomplish this advance, limitations inherent in atomic force microscopy (AFM) since its inception in 1986 [G. Binnig, C. F. Quate, and C. Gerber, "Atomic Force Microscope," Phys. Rev. Lett. 56, 930-933 (1986).] had to be overcome. The advances allow for live cell imaging of a whole genre of functional biological imaging with stiff (1-10N/m) scanned probe imaging cantilevers. Even topographic imaging of fine cell protrusions, such as microvilli, has been accomplished with such cantilevers. Similar topographic imaging has only recently been demonstrated with the standard soft (0.05N/m) cantilevers that are generally required for live cell imaging. The progress reported here demonstrates both ultrasensitive AFM (~100pN), capable of topographic imaging of even microvilli protruding from cell membranes and new functional applications that should have a significant impact on optical and other approaches in biological imaging of living systems and ultrasoft materials.
GLUT2 is a facilitative glucose transporter, expressed in polarized epithelial cells of the liver, intestine, kidney and pancreas, where it plays a critical role in glucose homeostasis. Together with SGLT1/2, it mediates glucose absorption in metabolic epithelial tissues, where it can be translocated apically upon high glucose exposure. To track the subcellular localization and dynamics of GLUT2, we created an mCherry-hGLUT2 fusion protein and expressed it in multicellular kidney cysts, a major site of glucose reabsorption. Live imaging of GLUT2 enabled us to avoid the artefactual localization of GLUT2 in fixed cells and to confirm the apical GLUT2 model. Live cell imaging showed a rapid 15 ± 3 min PKC-dependent basal-to-apical translocation of GLUT2 in response to glucose stimulation and a fourfold slower basolateral translocation under starvation. These results mark the physiological importance of responding quickly to rising glucose levels. Importantly, we show that phloretin, an apple polyphenol, inhibits GLUT2 translocation in both directions, suggesting that it exerts its effect by PKC inhibition. Subcellular localization studies demonstrated that GLUT2 is endocytosed through a caveolae-dependent mechanism, and that it is at least partly recovered in Rab11A-positive recycling endosome. Our work illuminates GLUT2 dynamics, providing a platform for drug development for diabetes and hyperglycaemia.
Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) is an important, generally non-invasive, bacterial pathogen that causes diarrhea in humans. The microbe infects mainly the enterocytes of the small intestine. Here we have applied our newly developed infrared surface plasmon resonance (IR-SPR) spectroscopy approach to study how EPEC infection affects epithelial host cells. The IR-SPR experiments showed that EPEC infection results in a robust reduction in the refractive index of the infected cells. Assisted by confocal and total internal reflection microscopy, we discovered that the microbe dilates the intercellular gaps and induces the appearance of fluid-phase-filled pinocytic vesicles in the lower basolateral regions of the host epithelial cells. Partial cell detachment from the underlying substratum was also observed. Finally, the waveguide mode observed by our IR-SPR analyses showed that EPEC infection decreases the host cell's height to some extent. Together, these observations reveal novel impacts of the pathogen on the host cell architecture and endocytic functions. We suggest that these changes may induce the infiltration of a watery environment into the host cell, and potentially lead to failure of the epithelium barrier functions. Our findings also indicate the great potential of the label-free IR-SPR approach to study the dynamics of host-pathogen interactions with high spatiotemporal sensitivity.
We demonstrate that a live epithelial cell monolayer can act as a planar waveguide. Our infrared reflectivity measurements show that highly differentiated simple epithelial cells, which maintain tight intercellular connectivity, support efficient waveguiding of the infrared light in the spectral region of 1.4-2.5 µm and 3.5-4 µm. The wavelength and the magnitude of the waveguide mode resonances disclose quantitative dynamic information on cell height and cell-cell connectivity. To demonstrate this we show two experiments. In the first one we trace in real-time the kinetics of the disruption of cell-cell contacts induced by calcium depletion. In the second one we show that cell treatment with the PI3-kinase inhibitor LY294002 results in a progressive decrease in cell height without affecting intercellular connectivity. Our data suggest that infrared waveguide spectroscopy can be used as a novel bio-sensing approach for studying the morphology of epithelial cell sheets in real-time, label-free manner and with high spatial-temporal resolution.
Type IV pili (Tfp) play a primary role in mediating the adherence of pathogenic bacteria to their hosts. The pilus filament can retract with an immense force. However, the role of this activity in microbial pathogenesis has not been rigorously explored. Experiments performed on volunteers suggested that the retraction capacity of enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) Tfp is required for full virulence. Here we review our recent study(1) in which we showed that the retraction capacity of the EPEC Tfp facilitates tight-junction disruption and actin-rich pedestal formation by promoting efficient bacterial protein effector translocation into epithelial host cells. We also present new data using live imaging confocal microscopy suggesting that EPEC adheres to monolayers in microcolonies and that Tfp retraction facilitates significant changes in the microcolony shape, which may be critical for efficient effector delivery. Our studies hence suggest novel insights into the role of pili retraction in EPEC pathogenesis.
Cell morphology is often used as a valuable indicator of the physical condition and general status of living cells. We demonstrate a noninvasive method for morphological characterization of adherent cells. We measure infrared reflectivity spectrum at oblique angle from living cells cultured on thin Au film, and utilize the unique properties of the confined infrared waves (i.e., surface plasmon and guided modes) traveling inside the cell layer. The propagation of these waves strongly depends on cell morphology and connectivity. By tracking the resonant wavelength and attenuation of the surface plasmon and guided modes we measure the kinetics of various cellular processes such as (i) cell attachment and spreading on different substrata, (ii) modulation of the outer cell membrane with chlorpromazine, and (iii) formation of intercellular junctions associated with progressive cell polarization. Our method enables monitoring of submicron variations in cell layer morphology in real-time, and in the label-free manner.
Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) is an important human pathogen that causes acute infantile diarrhea. The type IV bundle-forming pili (BFP) of typical EPEC strains are dynamic fibrillar organelles that can extend out and retract into the bacterium. The bfpF gene encodes for BfpF, a protein that promotes pili retraction. The BFP are involved in bacterial autoaggregation and in mediating the initial adherence of the bacterium with its host cell. Importantly, BFP retraction is implicated in virulence in experimental human infection. How pili retraction contributes to EPEC pathogenesis at the cellular level remains largely obscure, however. In this study, an effort has been made to address this question using engineered EPEC strains with induced BFP retraction capacity. We show that the retraction is important for tight-junction disruption and, to a lesser extent, actin-rich pedestal formation by promoting efficient translocation of bacterial protein effectors into the host cells. A model is proposed whereby BFP retraction permits closer apposition between the bacterial and the host cell surfaces, thus enabling timely and effective introduction of bacterial effectors into the host cell via the type III secretion apparatus. Our studies hence suggest novel insights into the involvement of pili retraction in EPEC pathogenesis.
We hypothesized that ADP-ribosylation factor 1 (Arf1) plays an important role in the biogenesis and maintenance of infectious hepatitis C virus (HCV). Huh7.5 cells, in which HCV replicates and produces infectious viral particles, were exposed to brefeldin A or golgicide A, pharmacological inhibitors of Arf1 activation. Treatment with these agents caused a reduction in viral RNA levels, the accumulation of infectious particles within the cells, and a reduction in the levels of these particles in the extracellular medium. Fluorescence analyses showed that the viral nonstructural (NS) proteins NS5A and NS3, but not the viral structural protein core, shifted their localization from speckle-like structures in untreated cells to the rims of lipid droplets (LDs) in treated cells. Using pulldown assays, we showed that ectopic overexpression of NS5A in Huh7 cells reduces the levels of GTP-Arf1. Downregulation of Arf1 expression by small interfering RNA (siRNA) decreased both the levels of HCV RNA and the production of infectious viral particles and altered the localization of NS5A to the peripheries of LDs. Together, our data provide novel insights into the role of Arf1 in the regulation of viral RNA replication and the production of infectious HCV.
Enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli and enteropathogenic E. coli are enteropathogens characterized by their ability to induce the host cell to form actin-rich structures, termed pedestals. A type III secretion system, through which the pathogens deliver effector proteins into infected host cells, is essential for their virulence and pedestal formation. Enterohaemorrhagic E. coli encodes two similar effectors, EspM1 and EspM2, which activate the RhoA signalling pathway and induce the formation of stress fibres upon infection of host cells. We confirm these observations and in addition show that EspM inhibits the formation of actin pedestals. Moreover, we show that translocation of EspM into polarized epithelial cells induces dramatic changes in the tight junction localization and in the morphology and architecture of infected polarized monolayers. These changes are manifested by altered localization of the tight junctions and 'bulging out' morphology of the cells. Surprisingly, despite the dramatic changes in their architecture, the cells remain alive and the epithelial monolayer maintains a normal barrier function. Taken together, our results show that the EspM effectors inhibit pedestal formation and induce tight junction mislocalization as well as dramatic changes in the architecture of the polarized monolayer.
The development of novel technologies capable of monitoring the dynamics of cell-cell and cell-substrate interactions in real time and a label-free manner is vital for gaining deeper insights into these most fundamental cellular processes. However, the label-free technologies available today provide only limited information on these processes. Here, we report a new (to our knowledge) infrared surface plasmon resonance (SPR)-based methodology that can resolve distinct phases of cell-cell and cell-substrate adhesion of polarized Madin Darby canine kidney epithelial cells. Due to the extended penetration depth of the infrared SP wave, the dynamics of cell adhesion can be detected with high accuracy and high temporal resolution. Analysis of the temporal variation of the SPR reflectivity spectrum revealed the existence of multiple phases in epithelial cell adhesion: initial contact of the cells with the substrate (cell deposition), cell spreading, formation of intercellular contacts, and subsequent generation of cell clusters. The final formation of a continuous cell monolayer could also be sensed. The SPR measurements were validated by optical microscopy imaging. However, in contrast to the SPR method, the optical analyses were laborious and less quantitative, and hence provided only limited information on the dynamics and phases of cell adhesion.
Phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate [PI(4,5)P(2)] and phosphatidylinositol 3,4,5-trisphosphate [PI(3,4,5)P(3)] are phosphoinositides (PIs) present in small amounts in the inner leaflet of the plasma membrane (PM) lipid bilayer of host target cells. They are thought to modulate the activity of proteins involved in enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) infection. However, the role of PI(4,5)P(2) and PI(3,4,5)P(3) in EPEC pathogenesis remains obscure. Here we show that EPEC induces a transient PI(4,5)P(2) accumulation at bacterial infection sites. Simultaneous actin accumulation, likely involved in the construction of the actin-rich pedestal, is also observed at these sites. Acute PI(4,5)P(2) depletion partially diminishes EPEC adherence to the cell surface and actin pedestal formation. These findings are consistent with a bimodal role, whereby PI(4,5)P(2) contributes to EPEC association with the cell surface and to the maximal induction of actin pedestals. Finally, we show that EPEC induces PI(3,4,5)P(3) clustering at bacterial infection sites, in a translocated intimin receptor (Tir)-dependent manner. Tir phosphorylated on tyrosine 454, but not on tyrosine 474, forms complexes with an active phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K), suggesting that PI3K recruited by Tir prompts the production of PI(3,4,5)P(3) beneath EPEC attachment sites. The functional significance of this event may be related to the ability of EPEC to modulate cell death and innate immunity.
We report on the application of surface plasmon resonance (SPR), based on Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy in the mid-infrared wavelength range, for real-time and label-free sensing of transferrin-induced endocytic processes in human melanoma cells. The evanescent field of the mid-infrared surface plasmon penetrates deep into the cell, allowing highly sensitive SPR measurements of dynamic processes occurring at significant cellular depths. We monitored in real-time, infrared reflectivity spectra in the SPR regime from living cells exposed to human transferrin (Tfn). We show that although fluorescence microscopy measures primarily Tfn accumulation in recycling endosomes located deep in the cell's cytoplasm, the SPR technique measures mainly Tfn-mediated formation of early endocytic organelles located in close proximity to the plasma membrane. Our SPR and fluorescence data are very well described by a kinetic model of Tfn endocytosis, suggested previously in similar cell systems. Hence, our SPR data provide further support to the rather controversial ability of Tfn to stimulate its own endocytosis. Our analysis also yields what we believe is novel information on the role of membrane cholesterol in modulating the kinetics of endocytic vesicle biogenesis and consumption.
Cholesterol-rich membrane domains (e.g., lipid rafts) are thought to act as molecular sorting machines, capable of coordinating the organization of signal transduction pathways within limited regions of the plasma membrane and organelles. The significance of these domains in polarized postendocytic sorting is currently not understood. We show that dimeric IgA stimulates the incorporation of its receptor into cholesterol-sensitive detergent-resistant membranes confined to the basolateral surface/basolateral endosomes. A fraction of human transferrin receptor was also found in basolateral detergent-resistant membranes. Disrupting these membrane domains by cholesterol depletion (using methyl-beta-cyclodextrin) before ligand-receptor internalization caused depolarization of traffic from endosomes, suggesting that cholesterol in basolateral lipid rafts plays a role in polarized sorting after endocytosis. In contrast, cholesterol depletion performed after ligand internalization stimulated cargo transcytosis. It also stimulated caveolin-1 phosphorylation on tyrosine 14 and the appearance of the activated protein in dimeric IgA-containing apical organelles. We propose that cholesterol depletion stimulates the coupling of transcytotic and caveolin-1 signaling pathways, consequently prompting the membranes to shuttle from endosomes to the plasma membrane. This process may represent a unique compensatory mechanism required to maintain cholesterol balance on the cell surface of polarized epithelia.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is an important cause of liver disease worldwide. Current therapies are inadequate for most patients. Using a two-hybrid screen, we isolated a novel cellular binding partner interacting with the N terminus of HCV nonstructural protein NS5A. This partner contains a TBC Rab-GAP (GTPase-activating protein) homology domain found in all known Rab-activating proteins. As the first described interaction between such a Rab-GAP and a viral protein, this finding suggests a new mechanism whereby viruses may subvert host cell machinery for mediating the endocytosis, trafficking, and sorting of their own proteins. Moreover, depleting the expression of this partner severely impairs HCV RNA replication with no obvious effect on cell viability. These results suggest that pharmacologic disruption of this NS5A-interacting partner can be contemplated as a potential new antiviral strategy against a pathogen affecting nearly 3% of the world's population.
We developed a novel surface plasmon resonance (SPR) method, based on Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, as a label-free technique for studying dynamic processes occurring within living cells in real time. With this method, the long (micrometer) infrared wavelength produced by the FTIR generates an evanescent wave that penetrates deep into the sample. In this way, it enables increased depth of sensing changes, covering significant portions of the cell-height volumes. HeLa cells cultivated on a gold-coated prism were subjected to acute cholesterol enrichment or depletion using cyclodextrins. Cholesterol insertion into the cell plasma membrane resulted in an exponential shift of the SPR signal toward longer wavelengths over time, whereas cholesterol depletion caused a shift in the opposite direction. Upon application of the inactive analog alpha-cyclodextrin (alpha-CD), the effects were minimal. A similar trend in the SPR signal shifts was observed on a model membrane system. Our data suggest that FTIR-SPR can be implemented as a sensitive technique for monitoring in real time dynamic changes taking place in living cells.
A subpopulation of hepatitis C virus (HCV) core protein in cells harboring full-length HCV replicons is biochemically associated with detergent-resistant membranes (DRMs) in a manner similar to that of markers of classical lipid rafts. Core protein does not, however, colocalize in immunofluorescence studies with classical plasma membrane raft markers, such as caveolin-1 and the B subunit of cholera toxin, suggesting that core protein is bound to cytoplasmic raft microdomains distinct from caveolin-based rafts. Furthermore, while both the structural core protein and the nonstructural protein NS5A associate with membranes, they do not colocalize in the DRMs. Finally, the ability of core protein to localize to the DRMs did not require other elements of the HCV polyprotein. These results may have broad implications for the HCV life cycle and suggest that the HCV core may be a valuable probe for host cell biology.
ErbB-2/HER2 drives epithelial malignancies by forming heterodimers with growth factor receptors. The primordial invertebrate receptor is sorted to the basolateral epithelial surface by binding of the PDZ domain of Lin-7 to the receptor's tail. We show that all four human ErbBs are basolaterally expressed, even when the tail motif is absent. Mutagenesis of hLin-7 unveiled a second domain, KID, that binds to the kinase region of ErbBs. The PDZ interaction mediates stabilization of ErbB-2 at the basolateral surface. On the other hand, binding of KID is involved in initial delivery to the basolateral surface, and in its absence, unprocessed ErbB-2 molecules are diverted to the apical surface. Hence, distinct domains of Lin-7 regulate receptor delivery to and maintenance at the basolateral surface of epithelia.