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Nat Immunol. 2007 Jan;8(1):47-56. Epub 2006 Dec 10.

An injected bacterial effector targets chromatin access for transcription factor NF-kappaB to alter transcription of host genes involved in immune responses.

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Unité de Pathogénie Microbienne Moléculaire, Institut Pasteur, F75724 Paris Cedex 15, France.


Phosphorylation of histone H3 at Ser10 increases chromatin accessibility to transcription factor NF-kappaB on a subset of genes involved in immune responses. Here we report that a bacterial pathogen abrogated phosphorylation of histone H3 to 'shape' the transcriptional responses of infected host cells. We identify the Shigella flexneri protein effector OspF as a dually specific phosphatase that dephosphorylated mitogen-activated protein kinases in the nucleus, thus preventing histone H3 phosphorylation at Ser10 in a gene-specific way. That activity of OspF enabled shigella to block the activation of a subset of NF-kappaB-responsive genes, leading to compromised recruitment of polymorphonuclear leukocytes to infected tissues. S. flexneri has thus evolved the capacity to precisely modulate host cell epigenetic 'information' as a strategy for repressing innate immunity.

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