Send to

Choose Destination
Cell Death Differ. 2010 Mar;17(3):421-38. doi: 10.1038/cdd.2009.129. Epub 2009 Oct 2.

Coxiella burnetii modulates Beclin 1 and Bcl-2, preventing host cell apoptosis to generate a persistent bacterial infection.

Author information

Laboratorio de Biología Celular y Molecular- Instituto de Histología y Embriología (IHEM), Facultad de Ciencias Médicas, Universidad Nacional de Cuyo-CONICET, Mendoza, Argentina.


Coxiella burnetii is the etiological agent of the human disease, Q fever, and is an obligate intracellular bacterium that invades and multiplies in a vacuole with lysosomal characteristics. We have previously shown that Coxiella interacts with the autophagic pathway as a strategy for its survival and replication. In addition, recent studies have shown that Coxiella exerts anti-apoptotic activity to maintain the host cell viability, thus generating a persistent infection. In the present report, we have explored the role of Beclin 1 and Bcl-2 in C. burnetii infection to elucidate how this bacterium modulates autophagy and apoptosis to its own benefit. Beclin 1, a Bcl-2 interacting protein, is required for autophagy. In this study, we show that Beclin 1 is recruited to the Coxiella-membrane vacuole, favoring its development and bacterial replication. In contrast, the anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2 alters the normal development of the Coxiella-replicative compartment, in spite of also being recruited to the vacuole membrane. Furthermore, both vacuole development and the anti-apoptotic effect of C. burnetii are affected by Beclin 1 depletion and by the expression of a Beclin 1 mutant defective in Bcl-2 binding. Overall, these findings indicate that C. burnetii infection modulates autophagy and apoptotic pathways through Beclin 1/Bcl-2 interplay to establish a successful infection in the host cell.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group
Loading ...
Support Center