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J Bacteriol 2012 Aug;194(15):4059-68

Bacterium-generated nitric oxide hijacks host tumor necrosis factor alpha signaling and modulates the host cell cycle in vitro.

Mocca B, Wang W


In mammalian cells, nitric oxide (NO.) is an important signal molecule with concentration-dependent and often controversial functions of promoting cell survival and inducing cell death. An inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) in various mammalian cells produces higher levels of NO. from l-arginine upon infections to eliminate pathogens. In this study, we reveal novel pathogenic roles of NO. generated by bacteria in bacterium-host cell cocultures using Moraxella catarrhalis, a respiratory tract disease-causing bacterium, as a biological producer of NO.. We recently demonstrated that M. catarrhalis cells that express the nitrite reductase (AniA protein) can produce NO. by reducing nitrite. Our study suggests that, in the presence of pathophysiological levels of nitrite, this opportunistic pathogen hijacks host cell signaling and modulates host gene expression through its ability to produce NO. from nitrite. Bacterium-generated NO. significantly increases the secretion of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) and modulates the expression of apoptotic proteins, therefore triggering host cell programmed death partially through TNF-alpha signaling. Furthermore, our study reveals that bacterium-generated NO. stalls host cell division and directly results in the death of dividing cells by reducing the levels of an essential regulator of cell division. This study provides unique insight into why NO. may exert more severe cytotoxic effects on fast growing cells, providing an important molecular basis for NO.-mediated pathogenesis in infections and possible therapeutic applications of NO.-releasing molecules in tumorigenesis. This study strongly suggests that bacterium-generated NO. can play important pathogenic roles during infections.

Category: Journal Article
PubMed ID: #22636782 DOI: 10.1128/JB.00476-12
Includes FDA Authors from Scientific Area(s): Biologics
Entry Created: 2012-02-25 Entry Last Modified: 2013-05-15