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Infection and immunity

Streptococcus pneumoniae ClpL modulates adherence to A549 human lung cells through Rap1/Rac1 activation.


PMID 24980975

Abstract

Caseinolytic protease L (ClpL) is a member of the HSP100/Clp chaperone family, which is found mainly in Gram-positive bacteria. ClpL is highly expressed during infection for refolding of stress-induced denatured proteins, some of which are important for adherence. However, the role of ClpL in modulating pneumococcal virulence is poorly understood. Here, we show that ClpL impairs pneumococcal adherence to A549 lung cells by inducing and activating Rap1 and Rac1, thus increasing phosphorylation of cofilin (inactive form). Moreover, infection with a clpL mutant (ΔclpL) causes a greater degree of filopodium formation than D39 wild-type (WT) infection. Inhibition of Rap1 and Rac1 impairs filopodium formation and pneumococcal adherence. Therefore, ClpL can reduce pneumococcal adherence to A549 cells, likely via modulation of Rap1- and Rac1-mediated filopodium formation. These results demonstrate a potential role for ClpL in pneumococcal resistance to host cell adherence during infection. This study provides insight into further understanding the interactions between hosts and pathogens.