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J Cell Biol. 2007 Apr 9;177(1):21-7. Epub 2007 Apr 2.

Pseudomonas aeruginosa exploits a PIP3-dependent pathway to transform apical into basolateral membrane.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA.


Pseudomonas aeruginosa, an important human pathogen, preferentially binds and enters injured cells from the basolateral (BL) surface. We previously demonstrated that activation of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) and Akt are necessary and sufficient for P. aeruginosa entry from the apical (AP) surface and that AP addition of phosphatidylinositol 3,4,5-trisphosphate (PIP3) is sufficient to convert AP into BL membrane (Kierbel, A., A. Gassama-Diagne, K. Mostov, and J.N. Engel. 2005. Mol. Biol. Cell. 16:2577-2585; Gassama-Diagne, A., W. Yu, M. ter Beest, F. Martin-Belmonte, A. Kierbel, J. Engel, and K. Mostov. 2006. Nat. Cell Biol. 8:963-970). We now show that P. aeruginosa subverts this pathway to gain entry from the AP surface. In polarized monolayers, P. aeruginosa binds near cell-cell junctions without compromising them where it activates and recruits PI3K to the AP surface. Membrane protrusions enriched for PIP3 and actin accumulate at the AP surface at the site of bacterial binding. These protrusions lack AP membrane markers and are comprised of BL membrane constituents, which are trafficked there by transcytosis. The end result is that this bacterium transforms AP into BL membrane, creating a local microenvironment that facilitates its colonization and entry into the mucosal barrier.

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