Inflammatory cell death of human macrophages in response to Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans leukotoxin
(English)Manuscript (Other academic)
Aggregatibacter (Actinobacillus) actinomycetemcomitans is a facultative anaerobic gram-negative bacterium associated with severe forms of periodontitis. A leukotoxin, which belongs to the Repeats in Toxin (RTX) family, is believed to be one of its virulence factors and to play an important role in the bacterium's pathogenicity. This toxin selectively kills human leukocytes by inducing apoptosis and lysis. Here we report that leukotoxin-induced cell death of macrophages proceeded through a process that differs from the classical characteristics of apoptosis and necrosis. Interestingly, this process resembled pyroptosis, and resulted in an extensive leukotoxin-induced interleukin-1β (IL-1β) secretion. This activation was mainly mediated by caspase-1 activation, while the levels of mRNA for IL-1β were not affected by the leukotoxin. A similar pattern was seen for IL-18, but the level of that cytokine was about 30 times lower. Both of these cytokines are synthesized as biologically inactive precursors and need active caspase-1 for their activation and secretion. In conclusion, A. actinomycetemcomitans leukotoxin induces a pyroptosis-like cell death in human macrophages and that leads to a specific and excessive pro-inflammatory response. This novel virulence mechanism of the leukotoxin may play an important role in the pathogenic potential of this bacterium.
A. actinomycetemcomitans, leukotoxin, IL-1β, macrophages, pyroptosis
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-19143OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-19143DiVA: diva2:201467