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Pathog Dis. 2017 Nov 30;75(8). doi: 10.1093/femspd/ftx108.

Orchestration of the mammalian host cell glucose transporter proteins-1 and 3 by Chlamydia contributes to intracellular growth and infectivity.

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Program in Infectious Diseases, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, 51 Koshland Hall, CA 94720, USA.
Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, 181 Longwood Ave, Boston, MA 02115, USA.
Division of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, University of Washington, 750 Republican St, Seattle, WA 98109, USA.


Chlamydia are gram-negative obligate intracellular bacteria that replicate within a discrete cellular vacuole, called an inclusion. Although it is known that Chlamydia require essential nutrients from host cells to support their intracellular growth, the molecular mechanisms for acquiring these macromolecules remain uncharacterized. In the present study, it was found that the expression of mammalian cell glucose transporter proteins 1 (GLUT1) and glucose transporter proteins 3 (GLUT3) were up-regulated during chlamydial infection. Up-regulation was dependent on bacterial protein synthesis and Chlamydia-induced MAPK kinase activation. GLUT1, but not GLUT3, was observed in close proximity to the inclusion membrane throughout the chlamydial developmental cycle. The proximity of GLUT1 to the inclusion was dependent on a brefeldin A-sensitive pathway. Knockdown of GLUT1 and GLUT3 with specific siRNA significantly impaired chlamydial development and infectivity. It was discovered that the GLUT1 protein was stabilized during infection by inhibition of host-dependent ubiquitination of GLUT1, and this effect was associated with the chlamydial deubiquitinase effector protein CT868. This report demonstrates that Chlamydia exploits host-derived transporter proteins altering their expression, turnover and localization. Consequently, host cell transporter proteins are manipulated during infection as a transport system to fulfill the carbon source requirements for Chlamydia.


glucose transporter protein; intracellular parasite; pathogenesis

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