ISSN / EISSN: 15537366 / 15537374
Published by: Public Library of Science (PLoS)
Total articles ≅ 10,326
Latest articles in this journal
Published: 26 May 2023
PLOS Pathogens, Volume 19; https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1011393
To gain a better insight of how Cu ions toxify cells, metabolomic analyses were performed in S. aureus strains that lacks the described Cu ion detoxification systems (ΔcopBL ΔcopAZ; cop-). Exposure of the cop- strain to Cu (II) resulted in an increase in the concentrations of metabolites utilized to synthesize phosphoribosyl diphosphate (PRPP). PRPP is created using the enzyme phosphoribosylpyrophosphate synthetase (Prs) which catalyzes the interconversion of ATP and ribose 5-phosphate to PRPP and AMP. Supplementing growth medium with metabolites requiring PRPP for synthesis improved growth in the presence of Cu (II). A suppressor screen revealed that a strain with a lesion in the gene coding adenine phosphoribosyltransferase (apt) was more resistant to Cu. Apt catalyzes the conversion of adenine with PRPP to AMP. The apt mutant had an increased pool of adenine suggesting that the PRPP pool was being redirected. Over-production of apt, or alternate enzymes that utilize PRPP, increased sensitivity to Cu (II). Increasing or decreasing expression of prs resulted in decreased and increased sensitivity to growth in the presence of Cu (II), respectively. We demonstrate that Prs is inhibited by Cu ions in vivo and in vitro and that treatment of cells with Cu (II) results in decreased PRPP levels. Lastly, we establish that S. aureus that lacks the ability to remove Cu ions from the cytosol is defective in colonizing the airway in a murine model of acute pneumonia, as well as the skin. The data presented are consistent with a model wherein Cu ions inhibits pentose phosphate pathway function and are used by the immune system to prevent S. aureus infections.
Published: 25 May 2023
PLOS Pathogens, Volume 19; https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1011391
Coccidioidomycosis is a typically respiratory fungal disease that, in the United States, occurs primarily in Arizona and California. In California, most coccidioidomycosis cases occur in the San Joaquin Valley, a primarily agricultural region where the disease poses a risk for outdoor workers. We collected 710 soil samples and 265 settled dust samples from nine sites in the San Joaquin Valley and examined how Coccidioides detection varied by month, site, and the presence and abundance of other fungal species. We detected Coccidioides in 89 of 238 (37.4%) rodent burrow soil samples at five undeveloped sites and were unable to detect Coccidioides in any of 472 surface and subsurface soil samples at four agricultural sites. In what is the largest sampling effort undertaken on agricultural land, our results provide no evidence that agricultural soils in the San Joaquin Valley harbor Coccidioides. We found no clear association between Coccidioides and the greater soil fungal community, but we identified 19 fungal indicator species that were significantly associated with Coccidioides detection in burrows. We also did not find a seasonal pattern in Coccidioides detection in the rodent burrow soils we sampled. These findings suggest both the presence of a spore bank and that coccidioidomycosis incidence may be more strongly associated with Coccidioides dispersal than Coccidioides growth. Finally, we were able to detect Coccidioides in only five of our 265 near-surface settled dust samples, one from agricultural land, where Coccidioides was undetected in soils, and four from undeveloped land, where Coccidioides was common in the rodent burrow soils we sampled. Our ability to detect Coccidioides in few settled dust samples indicates that improved methods are likely needed moving forward, though raises questions regarding aerial dispersal in Coccidioides, whose key transmission event likely occurs over short distances in rodent burrows from soil to naïve rodent lungs.
Published: 23 May 2023
PLOS Pathogens, Volume 19; https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1011402
Parvovirus B19 (B19V) is transmitted primarily via the respiratory route, however, the mechanism involved remains unknown. B19V targets a restricted receptor expressed in erythroid progenitor cells in the bone marrow. However, B19V shifts the receptor under acidic conditions and targets the widely expressed globoside. The pH-dependent interaction with globoside may allow virus entry through the naturally acidic nasal mucosa. To test this hypothesis, MDCK II cells and well-differentiated human airway epithelial cell (hAEC) cultures were grown on porous membranes and used as models to study the interaction of B19V with the epithelial barrier. Globoside expression was detected in polarized MDCK II cells and the ciliated cell population of well-differentiated hAEC cultures. Under the acidic conditions of the nasal mucosa, virus attachment and transcytosis occurred without productive infection. Neither virus attachment nor transcytosis was observed under neutral pH conditions or in globoside knockout cells, demonstrating the concerted role of globoside and acidic pH in the transcellular transport of B19V. Globoside-dependent virus uptake involved VP2 and occurred by a clathrin-independent pathway that is cholesterol and dynamin-dependent. This study provides mechanistic insight into the transmission of B19V through the respiratory route and reveals novel vulnerability factors of the epithelial barrier to viruses.
PLOS Pathogens, Volume 19; https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1011058
Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) is an intracellular foodborne pathogen which causes the severe disease listeriosis in immunocompromised individuals. Macrophages play a dual role during Lm infection by both promoting dissemination of Lm from the gastrointestinal tract and limiting bacterial growth upon immune activation. Despite the relevance of macrophages to Lm infection, the mechanisms underlying phagocytosis of Lm by macrophages are not well understood. To identify host factors important for Lm infection of macrophages, we performed an unbiased CRISPR/Cas9 screen which revealed pathways that are specific to phagocytosis of Lm and those that are required for internalization of bacteria generally. Specifically, we discovered the tumor suppressor PTEN promotes macrophage phagocytosis of Lm and L. ivanovii, but not other Gram-positive bacteria. Additionally, we found that PTEN enhances phagocytosis of Lm via its lipid phosphatase activity by promoting adherence to macrophages. Using conditional knockout mice lacking Pten in myeloid cells, we show that PTEN-dependent phagocytosis is important for host protection during oral Lm infection. Overall, this study provides a comprehensive identification of macrophage factors involved in regulating Lm uptake and characterizes the function of one factor, PTEN, during Lm infection in vitro and in vivo. Importantly, these results demonstrate a role for opsonin-independent phagocytosis in Lm pathogenesis and suggest that macrophages play a primarily protective role during foodborne listeriosis.
PLOS Pathogens, Volume 19; https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1011044
Interactions between coinfecting pathogens have the potential to alter the course of infection and can act as a source of phenotypic variation in susceptibility between hosts. This phenotypic variation may influence the evolution of host-pathogen interactions within host species and interfere with patterns in the outcomes of infection across host species. Here, we examine experimental coinfections of two Cripaviruses–Cricket Paralysis Virus (CrPV), and Drosophila C Virus (DCV)–across a panel of 25 Drosophila melanogaster inbred lines and 47 Drosophilidae host species. We find that interactions between these viruses alter viral loads across D. melanogaster genotypes, with a ~3 fold increase in the viral load of DCV and a ~2.5 fold decrease in CrPV in coinfection compared to single infection, but we find little evidence of a host genetic basis for these effects. Across host species, we find no evidence of systematic changes in susceptibility during coinfection, with no interaction between DCV and CrPV detected in the majority of host species. These results suggest that phenotypic variation in coinfection interactions within host species can occur independently of natural host genetic variation in susceptibility, and that patterns of susceptibility across host species to single infections can be robust to the added complexity of coinfection.
PLOS Pathogens, Volume 19; https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1011400
Neisseria gonorrhoeae is an exclusively human pathogen able to evade the host immune system through multiple mechanisms. Gonococci accumulate a large portion of phosphate moieties as polyphosphate (polyP) on the exterior of the cell. Although its polyanionic nature has suggested that it may form a protective shield on the cell surface, its role remains controversial. Taking advantage of a recombinant His-tagged polyP-binding protein, the presence of a polyP pseudo-capsule in gonococcus was demonstrated. Interestingly, the polyP pseudo-capsule was found to be present in specific strains only. To investigate its putative role in host immune evasion mechanisms, such as resistance to serum bactericidal activity, antimicrobial peptides and phagocytosis, the enzymes involved in polyP metabolism were genetically deleted, generating mutants with altered polyP external content. The mutants with lower polyP content on their surface compared to the wild-type strains, became sensitive to complement-mediated killing in presence of normal human serum. Conversely, naturally serum sensitive strains that did not display a significant polyP pseudo-capsule became resistant to complement in the presence of exogenous polyP. The presence of polyP pseudo-capsule was also critical in the protection from antibacterial activity of cationic antimicrobial peptide, such as cathelicidin LL-37. Results showed that the minimum bactericidal concentration was lower in strains lacking polyP than in those harboring the pseudo-capsule. Data referring to phagocytic killing resistance, assessed by using neutrophil-like cells, showed a significant decrease in viability of mutants lacking polyP on their cell surface in comparison to the wild-type strain. The addition of exogenous polyP overturned the killing phenotype of sensitive strains suggesting that gonococcus could exploit environmental polyP to survive to complement-mediated, cathelicidin and intracellular killing. Taken together, data presented here indicate an essential role of the polyP pseudo-capsule in the gonococcal pathogenesis, opening new perspective on gonococcal biology and more effective treatments.
PLOS Pathogens, Volume 19; https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1011415
The facultative human pathogen, Vibrio cholerae, employs two-component signal transduction systems (TCS) to sense and respond to environmental signals encountered during its infection cycle. TCSs consist of a sensor histidine kinase (HK) and a response regulator (RR); the V. cholerae genome encodes 43 HKs and 49 RRs, of which 25 are predicted to be cognate pairs. Using deletion mutants of each HK gene, we analyzed the transcription of vpsL, a biofilm gene required for Vibrio polysaccharide and biofilm formation. We found that a V. cholerae TCS that had not been studied before, now termed Rvv, controls biofilm gene transcription. The Rvv TCS is part of a three-gene operon that is present in 30% of Vibrionales species. The rvv operon encodes RvvA, the HK; RvvB, the cognate RR; and RvvC, a protein of unknown function. Deletion of rvvA increased transcription of biofilm genes and altered biofilm formation, while deletion of rvvB or rvvC lead to no changes in biofilm gene transcription. The phenotypes observed in ΔrvvA depend on RvvB. Mutating RvvB to mimic constitutively active and inactive versions of the RR only impacted phenotypes in the ΔrvvA genetic background. Mutating the conserved residue required for kinase activity in RvvA did not affect phenotypes, whereas mutation of the conserved residue required for phosphatase activity mimicked the phenotype of the rvvA mutant. Furthermore, ΔrvvA displayed a significant colonization defect which was dependent on RvvB and RvvB phosphorylation state, but not on VPS production. We found that RvvA’s phosphatase activity regulates biofilm gene transcription, biofilm formation, and colonization phenotypes. This is the first systematic analysis of the role of V. cholerae HKs in biofilm gene transcription and resulted in the identification of a new regulator of biofilm formation and virulence, advancing our understanding of the role TCSs play in regulating these critical cellular processes in V. cholerae.
PLOS Pathogens, Volume 19; https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1011419
We previously demonstrated that the flagellin of intracellular Vibrio splendidus AJ01 could be specifically identified by tropomodulin (Tmod) and further mediate p53-dependent coelomocyte apoptosis in the sea cucumber Apostichopus japonicus. In higher animals, Tmod serves as a regulator in stabilizing the actin cytoskeleton. However, the mechanism on how AJ01 breaks the AjTmod-stabilized cytoskeleton for internalization remains unclear. Here, we identified a novel AJ01 Type III secretion system (T3SS) effector of leucine-rich repeat-containing serine/threonine-protein kinase (STPKLRR) with five LRR domains and a serine/threonine kinase (STYKc) domain, which could specifically interact with tropomodulin domain of AjTmod. Furthermore, we found that STPKLRR directly phosphorylated AjTmod at serine 52 (S52) to reduce the binding stability between AjTmod and actin. After AjTmod dissociated from actin, the F-actin/G-actin ratio decreased to induce cytoskeletal rearrangement, which in turn promoted the internalization of AJ01. The STPKLRR knocked out strain could not phosphorylated AjTmod and displayed lower internalization capacity and pathogenic effect compared to AJ01. Overall, we demonstrated for the first time that the T3SS effector STPKLRR with kinase activity was a novel virulence factor in Vibrio and mediated self-internalization by targeting host AjTmod phosphorylation dependent cytoskeleton rearrangement, which provided a candidate target to control AJ01 infection in practice.
PLOS Pathogens, Volume 19; https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1011397
Mycoviruses are widely present in all major groups of fungi but those in entomopathogenic Metarhizium spp. remain understudied. In this investigation, a novel double-stranded (ds) RNA virus is isolated from Metarhizium majus and named Metarhizium majus partitivirus 1 (MmPV1). The complete genome sequence of MmPV1 comprises two monocistronic dsRNA segments (dsRNA 1 and dsRNA 2), which encode an RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) and a capsid protein (CP), respectively. MmPV1 is classified as a new member of the genus Gammapartitivirus in the family Partitiviridae based on phylogenetic analysis. As compared to an MmPV1-free strain, two isogenic MmPV1-infected single-spore isolates were compromised in terms of conidiation, and tolerance to heat shock and UV-B irradiation, while these phenotypes were accompanied by transcriptional suppression of multiple genes involved in conidiation, heat shock response and DNA damage repair. MmPV1 attenuated fungal virulence since infection resulted in reduced conidiation, hydrophobicity, adhesion, and cuticular penetration. Additionally, secondary metabolites were significantly altered by MmPV1 infection, including reduced production of triterpenoids, and metarhizins A and B, and increased production of nitrogen and phosphorus compounds. However, expression of individual MmPV1 proteins in M. majus had no impact on the host phenotype, suggesting insubstantive links between defective phenotypes and a single viral protein. These findings indicate that MmPV1 infection decreases M. majus fitness to its environment and its insect-pathogenic lifestyle and environment through the orchestration of the host conidiation, stress tolerance, pathogenicity, and secondary metabolism.
Published: 18 May 2023
PLOS Pathogens, Volume 19; https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1011363