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J Biol Chem. 2008 Nov 14;283(46):31511-21. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M804646200. Epub 2008 Jul 23.

Plasminogen activator Pla of Yersinia pestis utilizes murine DEC-205 (CD205) as a receptor to promote dissemination.

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Department of Biomedical Sciences, College of Medicine-Rockford, University of Illinois at Chicago, Rockford, Illinois 61107, USA.


Yersinia pestis, a Gram-negative bacterium that causes bubonic and pneumonic plague, is able to rapidly disseminate to other parts of its mammalian hosts. Y. pestis expresses plasminogen activator (PLA) on its surface, which has been suggested to play a role in bacterial dissemination. It has been speculated that Y. pestis hijacks antigen-presenting cells, such as macrophages (MPhis) and dendritic cells, to be delivered to lymph nodes to initiate dissemination and infection. Both alveolar MPhis and pulmonary dendritic cells express a C-type lectin receptor, DEC-205 (CD205), which mediates antigen uptake and presentation. However, no ligand has been identified for DEC-205. In this study, we show that the invasion of alveolar MPhisby Y. pestis depends both in vitro and in vivo on the expression of PLA. DEC-205-expressing MPhis and transfectants, but not their negative counterparts, phagocytosed PLA-expressing Y. pestis and Escherichia coli K12 more efficiently than PLA-negative controls. The interactions between PLA-expressing bacteria and DEC-205-expressing transfectants or alveolar MPhis could be inhibited by an anti-DEC-205 antibody. Importantly, the blockage of the PLA-DEC-205 interaction reduced the dissemination of Y. pestis in mice. In conclusion, murine DEC-205 is a receptor for PLA of Y. pestis, and this host-pathogen interaction appears to play a key role in promoting bacterial dissemination.

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