Fluorescent secreted bacterial effectors reveal active intravacuolar proliferation of Listeria monocytogenes in epithelial cells.

Publication Type:

Journal Article

Source:

PLoS pathogens, Volume 16, Issue 10, p.e1009001 (2020)

DOI:

10.1371/journal.ppat.1009001

Abstract:

Real-time imaging of bacterial virulence factor dynamics is hampered by the limited number of fluorescent tools suitable for tagging secreted effectors. Here, we demonstrated that the fluorogenic reporter FAST could be used to tag secreted proteins, and we implemented it to monitor infection dynamics in epithelial cells exposed to the human pathogen Listeria monocytogenes (Lm). By tracking individual FAST-labelled vacuoles after Lm internalisation into cells, we unveiled the heterogeneity of residence time inside entry vacuoles. Although half of the bacterial population escaped within 13 minutes after entry, 12% of bacteria remained entrapped over an hour inside long term vacuoles, and sometimes much longer, regardless of the secretion of the pore-forming toxin listeriolysin O (LLO). We imaged LLO-FAST in these long-term vacuoles, and showed that LLO enabled Lm to proliferate inside these compartments, reminiscent of what had been previously observed for Spacious Listeria-containing phagosomes (SLAPs). Unexpectedly, inside epithelial SLAP-like vacuoles (eSLAPs), Lm proliferated as fast as in the host cytosol. eSLAPs thus constitute an alternative replication niche in epithelial cells that might promote the colonization of host tissues.