Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Microbiology and BioMed Central.

Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Pseudomonas aeruginosa vesicles associate with and are internalized by human lung epithelial cells

Susanne J Bauman and Meta J Kuehn*

Author Affiliations

Duke University Medical Center, Department of Biochemistry, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Microbiology 2009, 9:26  doi:10.1186/1471-2180-9-26

Published: 3 February 2009

Abstract

Background

Pseudomonas aeruginosa is the major pathogen associated with chronic and ultimately fatal lung infections in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF). To investigate how P. aeruginosa-derived vesicles may contribute to lung disease, we explored their ability to associate with human lung cells.

Results

Purified vesicles associated with lung cells and were internalized in a time- and dose-dependent manner. Vesicles from a CF isolate exhibited a 3- to 4-fold greater association with lung cells than vesicles from the lab strain PAO1. Vesicle internalization was temperature-dependent and was inhibited by hypertonic sucrose and cyclodextrins. Surface-bound vesicles rarely colocalized with clathrin. Internalized vesicles colocalized with the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) marker, TRAPĪ±, as well as with ER-localized pools of cholera toxin and transferrin. CF isolates of P. aeruginosa abundantly secrete PaAP (PA2939), an aminopeptidase that associates with the surface of vesicles. Vesicles from a PaAP knockout strain exhibited a 40% decrease in cell association. Likewise, vesicles from PAO1 overexpressing PaAP displayed a significant increase in cell association.

Conclusion

These data reveal that PaAP promotes the association of vesicles with lung cells. Taken together, these results suggest that P. aeruginosa vesicles can interact with and be internalized by lung epithelial cells and contribute to the inflammatory response during infection.