Klebsiella pneumoniae targets an EGF receptor-dependent pathway to subvert inflammation

Christian G Frank, Verónica Reguerio, Marion Rother, David Moranta, André P Maeurer, Junkal Garmendia, Thomas F Meyer, José A Bengoechea

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42 Citations (Scopus)


The NF-kB transcriptional factor plays a key role governing the activation of immune responses. Klebsiella pneumoniae is an important cause of community-acquired and nosocomial pneumonia. Evidence indicates that K. pneumoniae infections are characterized by lacking an early in?ammatory response. Recently, we have demonstrated that Klebsiella antagonizes the activation of NF-kB via the deubiquitinase CYLD. In this work, by applying a high-throughput siRNA gain-of-function screen interrogating the human kinome, we identi?ed 17 kinases that when targeted by siRNA restored IL-1b-dependent NF-kB translocation in infected cells. Further characterization revealed that K. pneumoniae activates an EGF receptor (EGFR)- phosphatidylinositol 3-OH kinase (PI3K)–AKT–PAK4–ERK–GSK3b signalling pathway to attenuate the cytokine-dependent nuclear translocation of NF-kB. Our data also revealed that CYLD is a downstream effector of K. pneumoniae-induced EGFR–
PI3K–AKT–PAK4–ERK–GSK3b signalling pathway. Our efforts to identify the bacterial factor(s) responsible for EGFR activation demonstrate that a capsule (CPS) mutant did not activate EGFR hence
suggesting that CPS could mediate the activation of EGFR. Supporting this notion, puri?ed CPS did activate EGFR as well as the EGFR-dependent PI3K–AKT–PAK4–ERK–GSK3b signalling pathway. CPS-mediated EGFR activation was dependent on a TLR4–MyD88–c-SRC-dependent pathway. Several promising drugs have been developed to antagonize this cascade. We propose that agents targeting this signalling pathway might provide selective alternatives for the management of K. pneumoniae pneumonias.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1212-1233
Number of pages22
JournalCellular Microbiology
Issue number7
Early online date17 Feb 2013
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Virology


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