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    Chlamydia exploits filopodial capture and a macropinocytosis-like pathway for host cell entry

    Ford, Charlotte and Nans, Andrea and Boucrot, Emmanuel and Hayward, Richard D. (2018) Chlamydia exploits filopodial capture and a macropinocytosis-like pathway for host cell entry. PLoS Pathogens 14 (5), e1007051. ISSN 1553-7374.

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    Pathogens hijack host endocytic pathways to force their own entry into eukaryotic target cells. Many bacteria either exploit receptor-mediated zippering or inject virulence proteins directly to trigger membrane reorganisation and cytoskeletal rearrangements. By contrast, extracellular C. trachomatis elementary bodies (EBs) apparently employ facets of both the zipper and trigger mechanisms and are only ~400 nm in diameter. Our cryo-electron tomography of C. trachomatis entry revealed an unexpectedly diverse array of host structures in association with invading EBs, suggesting internalisation may progress by multiple, potentially redundant routes or several sequential events within a single pathway. Here we performed quantitative analysis of actin organisation at chlamydial entry foci, highlighting filopodial capture and phagocytic cups as dominant and conserved morphological structures early during internalisation. We applied inhibitor-based screening and employed reporters to systematically assay and visualise the spatio-temporal contribution of diverse endocytic signalling mediators to C. trachomatis entry. In addition to the recognised roles of the Rac1 GTPase and its associated nucleation-promoting factor (NPF) WAVE, our data revealed an additional unrecognised pathway sharing key hallmarks of macropinocytosis: i) amiloride sensitivity, ii) fluid-phase uptake, iii) recruitment and activity of the NPF N-WASP, and iv) the localised generation of phosphoinositide-3-phosphate (PI3P) species. Given their central role in macropinocytosis and affinity for PI3P, we assessed the role of SNX-PX-BAR family proteins. Strikingly, SNX9 was specifically and transiently enriched at C. trachomatis entry foci. SNX9-/- cells exhibited a 20% defect in EB entry, which was enhanced to 60% when the cells were infected without sedimentation-induced EB adhesion, consistent with a defect in initial EB-host interaction. Correspondingly, filopodial capture of C. trachomatis EBs was specifically attenuated in SNX9-/- cells, implicating SNX9 as a central host mediator of filopodial capture early during chlamydial entry. Our findings identify an unanticipated complexity of signalling underpinning cell entry by this major human pathogen, and suggest intriguing parallels with viral entry mechanisms.


    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Natural Sciences
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 09 May 2018 18:15
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:41


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