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Cell Death Dis. 2015 Feb 19;6:1655. doi: 10.1038/cddis.2015.19.

Vibrio vulnificus VvhA induces NF-κB-dependent mitochondrial cell death via lipid raft-mediated ROS production in intestinal epithelial cells.

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Department of Veterinary Physiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Research Institute for Veterinary Science, and BK21 PLUS Creative Veterinary Research Center, Seoul National University, Seoul 151-741, South Korea.
National Research Laboratory of Molecular Microbiology and Toxicology, Department of Agricultural Biotechnology, and Center for Food Safety and Toxicology, Seoul National University, Seoul 151-921, South Korea.


The Gram-negative bacterium Vibrio vulnificus produces hemolysin (VvhA), which induces cytotoxicity in mammalian cells. However, our understanding of the cytotoxic mechanism and the modes of action of VvhA are still fragmentary and incomplete. The recombinant protein (r) VvhA (50 pg/ml) significantly induces necrotic cell death and apoptosis in human intestinal epithelial (INT-407) cells. The apoptotic cell death induced by rVvhA is highly susceptible to the sequestration of cholesterol by methyl-β-cyclodextrin, whereas for necrotic cell death, this shows a marginal effect. We found that rVvhA induces the aggregation of lipid raft components coupled with NADPH oxidase enzymes, in which rVvhA increased the interaction of NADPH oxidase 2 (NOX2, gp91(phox)) with a cytosolic protein NCF1 (p47(phox)) to facilitate the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). rVvhA uniquely stimulated a conventional PKC isoform PKCα and induced the phosphorylation of both ERK and JNK, which are responsible for the activation of transcription factor NF-κB. rVvhA induced an NF-κB-dependent imbalance of the Bcl-2/Bax ratio, the release of mitochondrial cytochrome c, and caspase-3/-9 activation during its promotion of apoptotic cell death. In addition, rVvhA has the ability to inhibit the expression of cell cycle-related proteins, such as CDK2, CDK4, cyclin D1, and cyclin E. These results demonstrate that rVvhA induces NF-κB-dependent mitochondrial cell death via lipid raft-mediated ROS production by the distinct activation of PKCα and ERK/JNK in intestinal epithelial cells.

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