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Cell Microbiol. 1999 Jul;1(1):33-49.

Biogenesis of Salmonella typhimurium-containing vacuoles in epithelial cells involves interactions with the early endocytic pathway.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.


In epithelial cells, the intracellular pathogen Salmonella typhimurium resides and replicates within a unique cytoplasmic organelle, the Salmonella-containing vacuole (SCV). In vitro studies have shown that the SCV is a dynamic organelle that selectively acquires lysosomal glycoproteins (Igps) without fusing directly with lyosomes. Here, we have investigated early events in SCV biogenesis using immunofluorescence microscopy and epitope-specific flow cytometry. We show that proteins specific to the early endocytic pathway, EEA1 and transferrin receptor (TR), are present on early SCVs. The association of these proteins with SCVs is transient, and both proteins are undetectable at later time points when Igp and vATPase are acquired. Analysis of the fraction of SCVs containing both TR and lamp-1 showed that TR is lost from SCVs as the Igp is acquired, and that these processes occur progressively and not as the result of a single fusion/fission event. These experiments reveal a novel mechanism of SCV biogenesis, involving previously undetected initial interactions with the early endocytic pathway followed by the sequential delivery of Igp. The pathway does not involve interactions with the late endosome/prelysosome and is distinct from traditional phagocytic and endocytic pathways. Our study indicates that intracellular S. typhimurium occupies a unique niche, branching away from the traditional endocytic pathway between the early and late endosomal compartments.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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