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J Biol Chem. 2009 Apr 10;284(15):9955-64. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M808629200. Epub 2009 Feb 11.

Counteracting signaling activities in lipid rafts associated with the invasion of lung epithelial cells by Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

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  • 1Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27710, USA.


Pseudomonas aeruginosa has the capacity to invade lung epithelial cells by co-opting the intrinsic endocytic properties of lipid rafts, which are rich in cholesterol, sphingolipids, and proteins, such as caveolin-1 and -2. We compared intratracheal Pseudomonas infection in wild type and caveolin-deficient mice to investigate the role of caveolin proteins in the pathogenesis of Pseudomonas pneumonia. Unlike wild type mice, which succumb to pneumonia, caveolin-deficient mice are resistant to Pseudomonas. We observed that Pseudomonas invasion of lung epithelial cells is dependent on caveolin-2 but not caveolin-1. Phosphorylation of caveolin-2 by Src family kinases is an essential event for Pseudomonas invasion. Our studies also reveal the existence of a distinct signaling mechanism in lung epithelial cells mediated by COOH-terminal Src kinase (Csk) that negatively regulates Pseudomonas invasion. Csk migrates to lipid raft domains, where it decreases phosphorylation of caveolin-2 by inactivating c-Src. Whereas Pseudomonas co-opts the endocytic properties of caveolin-2 for invasion, there also exists in these cells an intrinsic Csk-dependent cellular defense mechanism aimed at impairing this activity. The success of Pseudomonas in co-opting lipid raft-mediated endocytosis to invade lung epithelial cells may depend on the relative strengths of these counteracting signaling activities.

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