Klebsiella pneumoniae disassembles host microtubules in lung epithelial cells

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Authors: Chua, MD; Liou, CH; Bogdan, AC; Law, HT; Yeh, KM; Lin, JC; Siu, LK; Guttman, JA
Year: 2019
Journal: Cell Microbiol. 21   Article Link (DOI)  PubMed
Title: Klebsiella pneumoniae disassembles host microtubules in lung epithelial cells
Abstract: Klebsiella pneumoniae raises significant concerns to the health care industry as these microbes are the source of widespread contamination of medical equipment, cause pneumonia as well as other multiorgan metastatic infections and have gained multidrug resistance. Despite soaring mortality rates, the host cell alterations occurring during these infections remain poorly understood. Here, we show that during in vitro and in vivo K. pneumoniae infections of lung epithelia, microtubules are severed and then eliminated. This destruction does not require direct association of K. pneumoniae with the host cells, as microtubules are disassembled in cells that are distant from the infecting bacteria. This microtubule dismantling is dependent on the K. pneumoniae (Kp) gene ytfL as non-pathogenic Escherichia coli expressing Kp ytfL disassemble microtubules in the absence of K. pneumoniae itself. Our data points to the host katanin catalytic subunit A like 1 protein (KATNAL1) and the katanin regulatory subunit B1 protein (KATNB1) as the gatekeepers to the microtubule severing event as both proteins localise specifically to microtubule cut sites. Infected cells that had either of these proteins knocked out maintained intact microtubules. Taken together, we have identified a novel mechanism that a bacterial pathogen has exploited to cause microtubule destruction within the host epithelia.
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