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Cell Microbiol. 2011 Apr;13(4):527-37. doi: 10.1111/j.1462-5822.2010.01552.x.

Attenuation of host NO production by MAMPs potentiates development of the host in the squid-vibrio symbiosis.

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Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, USA.


Bacterial pathogens typically upregulate the host's production of nitric oxide synthase (NOS) and nitric oxide (NO) as antimicrobial agents, a response that is often mediated by microbe-associated molecular patterns (MAMPs) of the pathogen. In contrast, previous studies of the beneficial Euprymna scolopes/Vibrio fischeri symbiosis demonstrated that symbiont colonization results in attenuation of host NOS/NO, which occurs in high levels in hatchling light organs. Here, we sought to determine whether V. fischeri MAMPs, specifically lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and the peptidoglycan derivative tracheal cytotoxin (TCT), attenuate NOS/NO, and whether this activity mediates the MAMPs-induced light organ morphogenesis. Using confocal microscopy, we characterized levels of NOS with immunocytochemistry and NO with a NO-specific fluorochrome. When added exogenously to seawater containing hatchling animals, V. fischeri LPS and TCT together, but not individually, induced normal NOS/NO attenuation. Further, V. fischeri mutants defective in TCT release did not. Experiments with NOS inhibitors and NO donors provided evidence that NO mediates apoptosis and morphogenesis associated with symbiont colonization. Attenuation of NOS/NO by LPS and TCT in the squid-vibrio symbiosis provides another example of how the host's response to MAMPs depends on the context. These data also provide a mechanism by which symbiont MAMPs regulate host development.

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