PloS one

The role of lipid raft aggregation in the infection of type II pneumocytes by Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

PMID 23024786


Dynamic, cholesterol-dense regions of the plasma membrane, known as lipid rafts (LR), have been observed to develop during and may be directly involved in infection of host cells by various pathogens. This study focuses on LR aggregation induced in alveolar epithelial cells during infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) bacilli. We report dose- and time-dependent increases in LR aggregation after infection with three different strains at multiplicities of infection of 1, 10 and 100 from 2-24 hr post infection (hpi). Specific strain-dependent variations were noted among H37Rv, HN878 and CDC1551 with H37Rv producing the most significant increase from 15 aggregates per cell (APC) to 27 APC at MOI 100 during the 24 hour infection period. Treatment of epithelial cells with Culture Filtrate Protein, Total Lipids and gamma-irradiated whole cells from each strain failed to induce the level of LR aggregation observed during infection with any of the live strains. However, filtered supernatants from infected epithelial cells did produce comparable LR aggregation, suggesting a secreted mycobacterial product produced during infection of host cells is responsible for LR aggregation. Disruption of lipid raft formation prior to infection indicates that Mtb bacilli utilize LR aggregates for internalization and survival in epithelial cells. Treatment of host cells with the LR-disruption agent Filipin III produced a nearly 22% reduction in viable bacteria for strains H37Rv and HN878, and a 7% reduction for strain CDC1551 after 6 hpi. This study provides evidence for significant mycobacterial-induced changes in the plasma membrane of alveolar epithelial cells and that Mtb strains vary in their ability to facilitate aggregation and utilization of LR.

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Filipin III from Streptomyces filipinensis, ≥85% (HPLC)