Coxiella burnetii phagocytosis is regulated by gtpases of the rho family and the rhoa effectors mdia1 and ROCK

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Copyright © 2015 Salinas et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.The GTPases belonging to the Rho family control the actin cytoskeleton rearrangements needed for particle internalization during phagocytosis. ROCK and mDia1 are downstream effectors of RhoA, a GTPase involved in that process. Coxiella burnetii, the etiologic agent of Q fever, is internalized by the hosts cells in an actin-dependent manner. Nevertheless, the molecular mechanism involved in this process has been poorly characterized. This work analyzes the role of different GTPases of the Rho family and some downstream effectors in the internalization of C. burnetii by phagocytic and non-phagocytic cells. The internalization of C. burnetii into HeLa and RAW cells was significantly inhibited when the cells were treated with Clostridium difficile Toxin B which irreversibly inactivates members of the Rho family. In addition, the internalization was reduced in HeLa cells that overexpressed the dominant negative mutants of RhoA, Rac1 or Cdc42 or that were knocked down for the Rho GTPases. The pharmacological inhibition or the knocking down of ROCK diminished bacterium internalization. Moreover, C. burnetii was less efficiently internalized in HeLa cells overexpressing mDia1-N1, a dominant negative mutant of mDia1, while the overexpression of the constitutively active mutant mDia1-δN3 increased bacteria uptake. Interestingly, when HeLa and RAW cells were infected, RhoA, Rac1 and mDia1 were recruited to membrane cell fractions. Our results suggest that the GTPases of the Rho family play an important role in C. burnetii phagocytosis in both HeLa and RAW cells. Additionally, we present evidence that ROCK and mDia1, which are downstream effectors of RhoA, are involved in that process.




Salinas, R. P., Flores, R. M. O., Distel, J. S., Aguilera, M. O., Colombo, M. I., & Berón, W. (2015). Coxiella burnetii phagocytosis is regulated by gtpases of the rho family and the rhoa effectors mdia1 and ROCK. PLoS ONE, 10(12).

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