Intracellular pathogens such as Listeria monocytogenes subvert cellular functions through the interaction of bacterial effectors with host components. Here we found that a secreted listerial virulence factor, LntA, could target the chromatin repressor BAHD1 in the host cell nucleus to activate interferon (IFN)-stimulated genes (ISGs). IFN-λ expression was induced in response to infection of epithelial cells with bacteria lacking LntA; however, the BAHD1-chromatin associated complex repressed downstream ISGs. In contrast, in cells infected with lntA-expressing bacteria, LntA prevented BAHD1 recruitment to ISGs and stimulated their expression. Murine listeriosis decreased in BAHD1(+/-) mice or when lntA was constitutively expressed. Thus, the LntA-BAHD1 interplay may modulate IFN-λ-mediated immune response to control bacterial colonization of the host.
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