Desmosomes are unaltered during infections by attaching and effacing pathogens

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Authors: Guttman, JA; Kazemi, P; Lin, AE; Vogl, AW; Finlay, BB
Year: 2007
Journal: Anatomical Record-Advances in Integrative Anatomy and Evolutionary Biology 290: 199-205   Article Link (DOI)
Title: Desmosomes are unaltered during infections by attaching and effacing pathogens
Abstract: The human attaching and effacing (A/E) intestinal pathogens enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC), enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC), and the murine A/E pathogen Citrobacter rodentium cause serious diarrhea in their hosts. These bacteria alter numerous host cell components, including organelles, the host cell cytoskeleton, and tight junctions during the infectious process. One of the proteins that contribute to the intermediate filament network in host cells, cytokeratin-18, is extensively altered during EPEC infections. Based on this, we tested the hypothesis that desmosomes, the only intercellular junctions that interact with intermediate filaments, are also influenced by A/E pathogen infections. We found that the desmosomal transmembrane proteins desmoglein and desmocollin, as well as the desmosome plaque protein desmoplakin, all remain unchanged during EPEC infection in vitro. This evidence is corroborated by the unaltered localization of desmoglein and desmoplakin in vivo in mice infected with C. rodentium for 7 days. Electron microscopic analysis of 7-day C. rodentium-infected murine colonocytes also show no observable differences in the desmosomes when compared to uninfected controls. Our data suggest that, unlike tight junctions, the desmosome protein levels and localization, as well as desmosome morphology, are unaltered during A/E pathogenesis.
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