Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 22768318
PLoS ONE 2012;7(7):e39888
Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an opportunistic pathogen involved in nosocomial infections. Flagellin is a P. aeruginosa virulence factor involved in host response to this pathogen. We examined the role of flagellin in P. aeruginosa-induced mucus secretion. Using a mouse model of pulmonary infection we showed that PAK, a wild type strain of P. aeruginosa, induced airway mucus secretion and mucin muc5ac expression at higher levels than its flagellin-deficient mutant (ΔFliC). PAK induced expression of MUC5AC and MUC2 in both human airway epithelial NCI-H292 cell line and in primary epithelial cells. In contrast, ΔFliC infection had lower to no effect on MUC5AC and MUC2 expressions. A purified P. aeruginosa flagellin induced MUC5AC expression in parallel to IL-8 secretion in NCI-H292 cells. Accordingly, ΔFliC mutant stimulated IL-8 secretion at significantly lower levels compared to PAK. Incubation of NCI-H292 cells with exogenous IL-8 induced MUC5AC expression and pre-incubation of these cells with an anti-IL-8 antibody abrogated flagellin-mediated MUC5AC expression. Silencing of TLR5 and Naip, siRNA inhibited both flagellin-induced MUC5AC expression and IL-8 secretion. Finally, inhibition of ERK abolished the expression of both PAK- and flagellin-induced MUC5AC. We conclude that: (i) flagellin is crucial in P. aeruginosa-induced mucus hyper-secretion through TLR5 and Naip pathways; (ii) this process is mediated by ERK and amplified by IL-8. Our findings help understand the mechanisms involved in mucus secretion during pulmonary infectious disease induced by P. aeruginosa, such as in cystic fibrosis.