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1.  Identification of a broad family of lipid A late acyltransferases with non-canonical substrate specificity 
Molecular microbiology  2014;91(5):887-899.
Most gram-negative organisms produce lipopolysaccharide (LPS), a complex macromolecule anchored to the bacterial membrane by the lipid A moiety. Lipid A is synthesized via the Raetz pathway, a conserved nine-step enzymatic process first characterized in Escherichia coli. The Epsilonproteobacterium Helicobacter pylori uses the Raetz pathway to synthesize lipid A; however, only eight of nine enzymes in the pathway have been identified in this organism. Here, we identify the missing acyltransferase, Jhp0255, which transfers a secondary acyl chain to the 3′-linked primary acyl chain of lipid A, an activity similar to that of E. coli LpxM. This enzyme, reannotated as LpxJ due to limited sequence similarity with LpxM, catalyzes addition of a C12:0 or C14:0 acyl chain to the 3′-linked primary acyl chain of lipid A, complementing an E. coli LpxM mutant. Enzymatic assays demonstrate that LpxJ and homologs in Campylobacter jejuni and Wolinella succinogenes can act before the 2′ secondary acyltransferase, LpxL, as well as the 3-deoxy-D-manno-octulosonic acid (Kdo) transferase, KdtA. Ultimately, LpxJ is one member of a large class of acyltransferases found in a diverse range of organisms that lack an E. coli LpxM homolog, suggesting that LpxJ participates in lipid A biosynthesis in place of an LpxM homolog.
PMCID: PMC3947442  PMID: 24372821
lipid A; acyltransferase; Helicobacter pylori; LpxJ; LpxM; DUF374; lipopolysaccharide; outer membrane
2.  Colonize, evade, flourish 
Gut Microbes  2013;4(6):439-453.
Helicobacter pylori is an adapted gastric pathogen that colonizes the human stomach, causing severe gastritis and gastric cancer. A hallmark of infection is the ability of this organism to evade detection by the human immune system. H. pylori has evolved a number of features to achieve this, many of which involve glyco-conjugates including the lipopolysaccharide, peptidoglycan layer, glycoproteins, and glucosylated cholesterol. These major bacterial components possess unique features from those of other gram-negative organisms, including differences in structure, assembly, and modification. These defining characteristics of H. pylori glycobiology help the pathogen establish a long-lived infection by providing camouflage, modulating the host immune response, and promoting virulence mechanisms. In this way, glyco-conjugates are essential for H. pylori pathogenicity and survival, allowing it to carve out a niche in the formidable environment of the human stomach.
PMCID: PMC3928157  PMID: 23859890
lipopolysaccharide; LPS transport; H. pylori; outer membrane; lipid A; Lewis antigens; peptidoglycan; immune evasion
3.  Anatomically restricted synergistic anti-viral activities of innate and adaptive immune cells in the skin 
Cell host & microbe  2013;13(2):155-168.
Despite extensive ex vivo investigation, the spatiotemporal organization of immune cells interacting with virus-infected cells in tissues remains uncertain. To address this, we used intravital multiphoton microscopy to visualize immune cell interactions with virus-infected cells following epicutaneous vaccinia virus (VV) infection of mice. VV infects keratinocytes in epidermal foci, and numerous migratory dermal inflammatory monocytes outlying the foci. We observed Ly6G+ innate immune cells infiltrating and controlling foci, while CD8+ T cells remained on the periphery killing infected monocytes. Most antigen-specific CD8+ T cells in the skin did not interact with virus-infected cells. Blocking the generation of reactive nitrogen species relocated CD8+ T cells into foci, modestly reducing viral titers. Depletion of Ly6G+ and CD8+ cells dramatically increased viral titers, consistent with their synergistic but spatially segregated viral clearance activities. These findings highlight previously unappreciated differences in the anatomic specialization of antiviral immune cell subsets.
PMCID: PMC3591514  PMID: 23414756
4.  Chemokines control naive CD8+ T cell selection of optimal lymph node antigen presenting cells 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2011;208(12):2511-2524.
CCR5-binding chemokines produced in the draining lymph node after vaccinia virus infection guide naive CD8+ T cells toward DCs and away from the macrophage-rich zone, thereby facilitating optimal CD8+ T cell activation and cytokine production.
Naive antiviral CD8+ T cells are activated in the draining LN (DLN) by dendritic cells (DCs) presenting viral antigens. However, many viruses infect LN macrophages, which participate in initiation of innate immunity and B cell activation. To better understand how and why T cells select infected DCs rather than macrophages, we performed intravital microscopy and ex vivo analyses after infecting mice with vaccinia virus (VV), a large DNA virus that infects both LN macrophages and DCs. Although CD8+ T cells interact with both infected macrophages and DCs in the LN peripheral interfollicular region (PIR), DCs generate more frequent and stable interactions with T cells. VV infection induces rapid release of CCR5-binding chemokines in the LN, and administration of chemokine-neutralizing antibodies diminishes T cell activation by increasing T cell localization to macrophages in the macrophage-rich region (MRR) at the expense of PIR DCs. Similarly, DC ablation increases both T cell localization to the MRR and the duration of T cell–macrophage contacts, resulting in suboptimal T cell activation. Thus, virus-induced chemokines in DLNs enable antiviral CD8+ T cells to distinguish DCs from macrophages to optimize T cell priming.
PMCID: PMC3256957  PMID: 22042976

Results 1-4 (4)