Ubiquitination of pathogen-containing vacuoles promotes host defense to Chlamydia trachomatis and Toxoplasma gondii.
Many intracellular bacterial and protozoan pathogens reside within host cell vacuoles customized by the microbial invaders to fit their needs. Within such pathogen-containing vacuoles (PVs) microbes procure nutrients and simultaneously hide from cytosolic host defense systems. Among the many PV-resident human pathogens are the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis and the protozoan Toxoplasma gondii. Immune responses directed against their PVs are poorly characterized. We reported that activation of host cells with IFNγ triggers the attachment of polyubiquitin chains to Toxoplasma- and Chlamydia-containing vacuoles and thereby marks PVs for destruction. In murine cells PV ubiquitination is dependent on IFNγ-inducible Immunity Related GTPases (IRGs). Human cells also decorate PVs with ubiquitin upon IFNγ priming; however, the molecular machinery promoting PV ubiquitination in human cells remains unknown and is likely to be distinct from the IRG-dependent pathway we described in murine cells. Thus, IFNγ-inducible PV ubiquitination constitutes a critical event in cell-autonomous immunity to C. trachomatis and T. gondii in mice and humans, but the molecular machinery underlying PV ubiquitination is expected to be multifaceted and possibly host species-specific.
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