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PLoS One


Pseudomonas aeruginosa uses a type III secretion system to introduce the adenylyl and guanylyl cyclase exotoxin Y (ExoY) into the cytoplasm of endothelial cells. ExoY induces Tau hyperphosphorylation and insolubility, microtubule breakdown, barrier disruption and edema, although the mechanism(s) responsible for microtubule breakdown remain poorly understood. Here we investigated both microtubule behavior and centrosome activity to test the hypothesis that ExoY disrupts microtubule dynamics. Fluorescence microscopy determined that infected pulmonary microvascular endothelial cells contained fewer microtubules than control cells, and further studies demonstrated that the microtubule-associated protein Tau was hyperphosphorylated following infection and dissociated from microtubules. Disassembly/reassembly studies determined that microtubule assembly was disrupted in infected cells, with no detectable effects on either microtubule disassembly or microtubule nucleation by centrosomes. This effect of ExoY on microtubules was abolished when the cAMP-dependent kinase phosphorylation site (Ser-214) on Tau was mutated to a non-phosphorylatable form. These studies identify Tau in microvascular endothelial cells as the target of ExoY in control of microtubule architecture following pulmonary infection by Pseudomonas aeruginosa and demonstrate that phosphorylation of tau following infection decreases microtubule assembly.

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College of Medicine


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Copyright: © 2013 Balczon et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.