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Infect Immun. 2013 Dec;81(12):4509-18. doi: 10.1128/IAI.01008-13. Epub 2013 Sep 30.

Pseudomonas aeruginosa outer membrane vesicles modulate host immune responses by targeting the Toll-like receptor 4 signaling pathway.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, North Dakota, USA.


Bacteria can naturally secrete outer membrane vesicles (OMVs) as pathogenic factors, while these vesicles may also serve as immunologic regulators if appropriately prepared. However, it is largely unknown whether Pseudomonas aeruginosa OMVs can activate inflammatory responses and whether immunization with OMVs can provide immune protection against subsequent infection. We purified and identified OMVs, which were then used to infect lung epithelial cells in vitro as well as C57BL/6J mice to investigate the immune response and the underlying signaling pathway. The results showed that OMVs generated from P. aeruginosa wild-type strain PAO1 were more cytotoxic to alveolar epithelial cells than those from quorum-sensing (QS)-deficient strain PAO1-ΔlasR. The levels of Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) and proinflammatory cytokines, including interleukin-1β (IL-1β) and IL-6, increased following OMV infection. Compared with lipopolysaccharide (LPS), lysed OMVs in which the membrane structures were broken induced a weak immune response. Furthermore, expression levels of TLR4-mediated responders (i.e., cytokines) were markedly downregulated by the TLR4 inhibitor E5564. Active immunization with OMVs or passive transfer of sera with a high cytokine quantity acquired from OMV-immunized mice could protect healthy mice against subsequent lethal PAO1 challenges (1.5 × 10(11) CFU). Collectively, these findings indicate that naturally secreted P. aeruginosa OMVs may trigger significant inflammatory responses via the TLR4 signaling pathway and protect mice against pseudomonal lung infection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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