Author(s): Mahony JB
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Abstract Chlamydiae are obligate intracellular bacterial parasites that infect eukaryotic cells and live their entire life cycle within a cytoplasmic vacuole or inclusion. We have employed cDNA microarray and conventional biological approaches to study the pathogen-host cell interaction during C. pneumoniae infection of eukaryotic cells. Two host cell signaling pathways, MEK/ERK and PI 3-kinase/Akt, were activated within 5 and 20 minutes, respectively, following infection with chlamydiae. Pharmacological inhibition of these pathways blocked invasion of HEp2 cells indicating that activation of these pathways was required for infection. Rho family GTPase activity was essential for invasion, since the pan-Rho GTPase inhibitor, compactin, blocked infection of HEp2 cells. cDNA microarrays and reverse transcriptase PCR were used to study host cell and chlamydial gene expression during the replication cycle. Analysis of host cell gene expression following infection with C. pneumoniae indicated that genes coding for cytokines, growth factors, and signaling molecules were upregulated, as early as 2 hours postinfection. Analysis of chlamydial gene expression indicated a temporal regulation of transcription with distinct early-, mid-, and late-cycle classes of RNA transcripts. Newly discovered genes encoding three Ser/Thr protein kinases and one protein phosphatase were upregulated 6-12 hours postinfection. One protein kinase, designated CpnPK1, was first detected at 12 hours postinfection, accumulated in the inclusion throughout the replication cycle, and may be a type III effector molecule. An increased understanding of chlamydial host cell interactions, in particular the role of various chlamydial proteins in infection and identification of essential virulence factors should provide novel targets for the development of new antimicrobials.
This article was published in Ann N Y Acad Sci
and referenced in Journal of Computer Science & Systems Biology