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J Immunol. 2001 Feb 1;166(3):1823-31.

Yersinia outer protein P of Yersinia enterocolitica simultaneously blocks the nuclear factor-kappa B pathway and exploits lipopolysaccharide signaling to trigger apoptosis in macrophages.

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Max von Pettenkofer-Institut für Hygiene und Medizinische Mikrobiologie, München, Germany.


Exposure of macrophages to bacteria or LPS mediates activation of signaling pathways that induce expression of self defense-related genes. Pathogenic Yersinia species impair activation of transcription factor NF-kappaB and trigger apoptosis in macrophages. In this study, we dissected the mechanism of apoptosis induction by Yersinia. Selectively, Yersinia enterocolitica strains producing the effector protein Yersinia outer protein P (YopP) hampered NF-kappaB activation and subsequently conferred apoptosis to J774A.1 macrophages. Thereby, YopP bound and inhibited the macrophage NF-kappaB-activating kinase IKKbeta. YopP- and Yersinia-, but not Salmonella-induced apoptosis was specifically prevented by transient overexpression of NF-kappaB p65, giving evidence that YopP mediates cell death by disrupting the NF-kappaB signaling pathway. Transfection of J774A.1 macrophages with YopP induced a moderate, but significant degree of apoptosis (40-50% of transfected cells). This effect was strongly enhanced by additional initiation of LPS signaling (80-90%), indicating a synergism between LPS-induced signal transduction and inhibition of NF-kappaB by YopP. This reflects a strategy of a bacterial pathogen that takes advantage of LPS, serving as cofactor, to impair the macrophage.

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