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The role of phagocytosis-dependent activation of TFEB in the clearance of salmonella

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posted on 23.05.2021, 15:44 by Erika Ospina Escobar
During phagocytosis, macrophages engulf and sequester pathogens into phagosomes. Phagosomes then fuse with acidic and degradative lysosomes to degrade the internalized pathogen. We previously demonstrated that phagocytosis of IgG-opsonized particles and non-opsonized E.coli causes activation of the Transcription Factor EB (TFEB), which enhances the expression of lysosomal genes, increases the degradative capacity of lysosomes and boosts bactericidal activity. However, pathogens like Salmonella typhimurium have evolved mechanisms to evade and/or alter phagosome maturation to promote their own survival. We investigated: i) whether pathogens like Salmonella can alter TFEB activation and ii) whether phagocytosis-dependent activation of TFEB can counteract the pathogenicity of microorganisms. Here, we show that non-viable (heat-killed) S. typhimurium, pathogenic (EHEC and UPEC) and non-pathogenic E.coli (DH5α) all caused TFEB nuclear translocation in RAW macrophages, while strikingly live S. typhimurium maintained TFEB in the cytosol in the first hours post-infection. By contrast, Salmonella mutants for ΔsifA, ΔsopD2, ΔphoP all triggered TFEB activation in the first hour of infection. However, Salmonella infection eventually triggered a steady increase in nuclear TFEB after 4 h of infection, suggesting a more complex interplay between TFEB and Salmonella infection. We dissected the importance of TFEB activation towards Salmonella survivability by pre-activating TFEB before infection within WT macrophages and macrophages with a CRISPR-based deletion of TFEB. Our work suggests that Salmonella actively interferes with TFEB signaling in order to enhance its own survival. These results could provide insight into using TFEB as a target for the clearance of infections.





Master of Science


Molecular Science

Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type


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Molecular Science (Theses)