PloS one

Phg1/TM9 proteins control intracellular killing of bacteria by determining cellular levels of the Kil1 sulfotransferase in Dictyostelium.

PMID 23301051


Dictyostelium discoideum has largely been used to study phagocytosis and intracellular killing of bacteria. Previous studies have shown that Phg1A, Kil1 and Kil2 proteins are necessary for efficient intracellular killing of Klebsiella bacteria. Here we show that in phg1a KO cells, cellular levels of lysosomal glycosidases and lysozyme are decreased, and lysosomal pH is increased. Surprisingly, overexpression of Kil1 restores efficient killing in phg1a KO cells without correcting these lysosomal anomalies. Conversely, kil1 KO cells are defective for killing, but their enzymatic content and lysosomal pH are indistinguishable from WT cells. The killing defect of phg1a KO cells can be accounted for by the observation that in these cells the stability and the cellular amount of Kil1 are markedly reduced. Since Kil1 is the only sulfotransferase characterized in Dictyostelium, an (unidentified) sulfated factor, defective in both phg1a and kil1 KO cells, may play a key role in intracellular killing of Klebsiella bacteria. In addition, Phg1B plays a redundant role with Phg1A in controlling cellular amounts of Kil1 and intracellular killing. Finally, cellular levels of Kil1 are unaffected in kil2 KO cells, and Kil1 overexpression does not correct the killing defect of kil2 KO cells, suggesting that Kil2 plays a distinct role in intracellular killing.