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J Med Microbiol. 2008 Feb;57(Pt 2):159-63. doi: 10.1099/jmm.0.47504-0.

Expression of perilipin in human promyelocytic cells in response to Anaplasma phagocytophilum infection results in modified lipid metabolism.

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  • 1Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, Center for Veterinary Health Sciences, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078, USA.


The obligate intracellular pathogen Anaplasma phagocytophilum is transmitted by ticks and causes human granulocytic anaplasmosis, tick-borne fever of ruminants, and equine and canine granulocytic anaplasmosis. In a previous study, the perilipin (PLIN) gene was identified as one of the genes differentially expressed in human promyelocytic HL-60 cells in response to infection with A. phagocytophilum. PLIN is a major adipocyte lipid droplet-associated phosphoprotein that plays a central role in lipolysis and cholesterol synthesis. Host cholesterol and other lipids are required by A. phagocytophilum for infection and multiplication in human cells. In this study, it was hypothesized that PLIN may be involved in infection of human HL-60 cells by A. phagocytophilum. To test this hypothesis, a combination of real-time RT-PCR, immunofluorescence and RNA interference was used to study the expression of PLIN. The results of these studies demonstrated that A. phagocytophilum modulates lipid metabolism by increasing PLIN mRNA levels and facilitates infection of HL-60 cells. The results of these studies expand our knowledge of the role of lipid metabolism in A. phagocytophilum infection and multiplication in HL-60 cells and suggest a mechanism by which A. phagocytophilum modulates lipid metabolism.

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