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Cell Microbiol. 2012 Sep;14(9):1364-75. doi: 10.1111/j.1462-5822.2012.01801.x. Epub 2012 May 14.

Pseudomonas aeruginosa-derived rhamnolipids subvert the host innate immune response through manipulation of the human beta-defensin-2 expression.

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Department of Dermatology, University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein, D-24105 Kiel, Germany.


Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a well-known cause of infections especially in compromised patients. To neutralize this pathogen, the expression of antimicrobial factors in epithelial cells is crucial. In particular the human beta-defensin hBD-2 is especially active against P. aeruginosa. In this study, we identified rhamnolipids in P. aeruginosa culture supernatants that are able to prevent the pathogen-induced hBD-2 response in keratinocytes. The presence of rhamnolipids within the host cells and inhibition assays suggest that calcium-regulated pathways and protein kinase C activation are impaired by rhamnolipids. In consequence, the induction of hBD-2 in keratinocytes by P. aeruginosa-derived flagellin as well as the host's own hBD-2 mediator interleukin IL-1β is inhibited. Strikingly, rhamnolipids did not affect the release of the proinflammatory mediator interleukin IL-8 by flagellin. Thus, in addition to their function in establishment and persistence of P. aeruginosa infections, rhamnolipids can be engaged by P. aeruginosa for a targeted attenuation of the innate immunity to manage its survival and colonization on compromised epithelia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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