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Cell Microbiol. 2013 Jul;15(7):1212-33. doi: 10.1111/cmi.12110. Epub 2013 Feb 17.

Klebsiella pneumoniae targets an EGF receptor-dependent pathway to subvert inflammation.

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Laboratory Microbial Pathogenesis, Fundació d'Investigació Sanitària de les Illes Balears (FISIB), Recinto Hospital Joan March, 07110, Bunyola, Spain.


The NF-κB transcriptional factor plays a key role governing the activation of immune responses. Klebsiella pneumoniae is an important cause of community-acquired and nosocomial pneumonia. Evidence indicates that K. pneumoniae infections are characterized by lacking an early inflammatory response. Recently, we have demonstrated that Klebsiella antagonizes the activation of NF-κB via the deubiquitinase CYLD. In this work, by applying a high-throughput siRNA gain-of-function screen interrogating the human kinome, we identified 17 kinases that when targeted by siRNA restored IL-1β-dependent NF-κB translocation in infected cells. Further characterization revealed that K. pneumoniae activates an EGF receptor (EGFR)-phosphatidylinositol 3-OH kinase (PI3K)-AKT-PAK4-ERK-GSK3β signalling pathway to attenuate the cytokine-dependent nuclear translocation of NF-κB. Our data also revealed that CYLD is a downstream effector of K. pneumoniae-induced EGFR-PI3K-AKT-PAK4-ERK-GSK3β signalling pathway. Our efforts to identify the bacterial factor(s)responsible for EGFR activation demonstrate that a capsule (CPS) mutant did not activate EGFR hence suggesting that CPS could mediate the activation of EGFR. Supporting this notion, purified CPS did activate EGFR as well as the EGFR-dependent PI3K-AKT-PAK4-ERK-GSK3β signalling pathway. CPS-mediated EGFR activation was dependent on a TLR4-MyD88-c-SRC-dependent pathway. Several promising drugs have been developed to antagonize this cascade. We propose that agents targeting this signalling pathway might provide selective alternatives for the management of K. pneumoniae pneumonias.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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