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Listeria monocytogenes Uses Listeria Adhesion Protein (LAP) To Promote Bacterial Transepithelial Translocation and Induces Expression of LAP Receptor Hsp60

Burkholder, Kristin M., Bhunia, Arun K.
Infection and immunity 2010 v.78 no.12 pp. 5062-5073
Listeria monocytogenes, bacterial adhesion, gene overexpression, heat, human cell lines, intestinal mucosa, models, mutants, pathogens, plasma membrane, small interfering RNA, stress response, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, virulence
Listeria monocytogenes interaction with the intestinal epithelium is a key step in the infection process. We demonstrated that Listeria adhesion protein (LAP) promotes adhesion to intestinal epithelial cells and facilitates extraintestinal dissemination in vivo. The LAP receptor is a stress response protein, Hsp60, but the precise role for the LAP-Hsp60 interaction during Listeria infection is unknown. Here we investigated the influence of physiological stressors and Listeria infection on host Hsp60 expression and LAP-mediated bacterial adhesion, invasion, and transepithelial translocation in an enterocyte-like Caco-2 cell model. Stressors such as heat (41°C), tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) (100 U), and L. monocytogenes infection (10⁴ to 10⁶ CFU/ml) significantly (P < 0.05) increased plasma membrane and intracellular Hsp60 levels in Caco-2 cells and consequently enhanced LAP-mediated L. monocytogenes adhesion but not invasion of Caco-2 cells. In transepithelial translocation experiments, the wild type (WT) exhibited 2.7-fold more translocation through Caco-2 monolayers than a lap mutant, suggesting that LAP is involved in transepithelial translocation, potentially via a paracellular route. Short hairpin RNA (shRNA) suppression of Hsp60 in Caco-2 cells reduced WT adhesion and translocation 4.5- and 3-fold, respectively, while adhesion remained unchanged for the lap mutant. Conversely, overexpression of Hsp60 in Caco-2 cells enhanced WT adhesion and transepithelial translocation, but not those of the lap mutant. Furthermore, initial infection with a low dosage (10⁶ CFU/ml) of L. monocytogenes increased plasma membrane and intracellular expression of Hsp60 significantly, which rendered Caco-2 cells more susceptible to subsequent LAP-mediated adhesion and translocation. These data provide insight into the role of LAP as a virulence factor during intestinal epithelial infection and pose new questions regarding the dynamics between the host stress response and pathogen infection.