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A cardinal role for cathepsin d in co-ordinating the host-mediated apoptosis of macrophages and killing of pneumococci.

PLoS pathogens | Jan 27, 2011

The bactericidal function of macrophages against pneumococci is enhanced by their apoptotic demise, which is controlled by the anti-apoptotic protein Mcl-1. Here, we show that lysosomal membrane permeabilization (LMP) and cytosolic translocation of activated cathepsin D occur prior to activation of a mitochondrial pathway of macrophage apoptosis. Pharmacological inhibition or knockout of cathepsin D during pneumococcal infection blocked macrophage apoptosis. As a result of cathepsin D activation, Mcl-1 interacted with its ubiquitin ligase Mule and expression declined. Inhibition of cathepsin D had no effect on early bacterial killing but inhibited the late phase of apoptosis-associated killing of pneumococci in vitro. Mice bearing a cathepsin D(-/-) hematopoietic system demonstrated reduced macrophage apoptosis in vivo, with decreased clearance of pneumococci and enhanced recruitment of neutrophils to control pulmonary infection. These findings establish an unexpected role for a cathepsin D-mediated lysosomal pathway of apoptosis in pulmonary host defense and underscore the importance of apoptosis-associated microbial killing to macrophage function.

Pubmed ID: 21298030 RIS Download

Mesh terms: Animals | Apoptosis | Bone Marrow Cells | Bone Marrow Transplantation | Cathepsin D | Cell Line, Tumor | Cytosol | Female | Host-Pathogen Interactions | Humans | Intracellular Membranes | Macrophages | Mice | Mice, Inbred C57BL | Mice, Knockout | Phagosomes | Streptococcus pneumoniae

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Associated grants

  • Agency: Wellcome Trust, Id: 076945
  • Agency: Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, Id: BB/D005469/1
  • Agency: Medical Research Council, Id:

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