A bacterial protein targets the BAHD1 chromatin complex to stimulate type III interferon response.
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.