Pseudomonas aeruginosa vesicles associate with and are internalized by human lung epithelial cells.
BACKGROUND: Pseudomonas aeruginosa is the major pathogen associated with chronic and ultimately fatal lung infections in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF). To investigate how P. aeruginosa-derived vesicles may contribute to lung disease, we explored their ability to associate with human lung cells. RESULTS: Purified vesicles associated with lung cells and were internalized in a time- and dose-dependent manner. Vesicles from a CF isolate exhibited a 3- to 4-fold greater association with lung cells than vesicles from the lab strain PAO1. Vesicle internalization was temperature-dependent and was inhibited by hypertonic sucrose and cyclodextrins. Surface-bound vesicles rarely colocalized with clathrin. Internalized vesicles colocalized with the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) marker, TRAPalpha, as well as with ER-localized pools of cholera toxin and transferrin. CF isolates of P. aeruginosa abundantly secrete PaAP (PA2939), an aminopeptidase that associates with the surface of vesicles. Vesicles from a PaAP knockout strain exhibited a 40% decrease in cell association. Likewise, vesicles from PAO1 overexpressing PaAP displayed a significant increase in cell association. CONCLUSION: These data reveal that PaAP promotes the association of vesicles with lung cells. Taken together, these results suggest that P. aeruginosa vesicles can interact with and be internalized by lung epithelial cells and contribute to the inflammatory response during infection.
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