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Infect Immun. 2012 Mar;80(3):1088-97. doi: 10.1128/IAI.06245-11. Epub 2011 Dec 19.

The acid phosphatase AcpA is secreted in vitro and in macrophages by Francisella spp.

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Center for Microbial Interface Biology, Department of Microbial Infection and Immunity, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA.


Francisella tularensis is a remarkably infectious facultative intracellular pathogen that causes the zoonotic disease tularemia. Essential to the pathogenesis of F. tularensis is its ability to escape the destructive phagosomal environment and inhibit the host cell respiratory burst. F. tularensis subspecies encode a series of acid phosphatases, which have been reported to play important roles in Francisella phagosomal escape, inhibition of the respiratory burst, and intracellular survival. However, rigorous demonstration of acid phosphatase secretion by intracellular Francisella has not been shown. Here, we demonstrate that AcpA, which contributes most of the F. tularensis acid phosphatase activity, is secreted into the culture supernatant in vitro by F. novicida and F. tularensis subsp. holarctica LVS. In addition, both F. novicida and the highly virulent F. tularensis subsp. tularensis Schu S4 strain are able to secrete and also translocate AcpA into the host macrophage cytosol. This is the first evidence of acid phosphatase translocation during macrophage infection, and this knowledge will greatly enhance our understanding of the functions of these enzymes in Francisella pathogenesis.

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