Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 23006849
Infect. Immun. 2012 Dec;80(12):4257-63
Human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT) is the catalytic subunit of the human telomerase complex. Growing evidence suggests that hTERT also contributes to the cell physiology independently of telomere elongation. However, its role in bacterial infection is unknown. Here we show that hTERT is critical for Listeria monocytogenes infection, as the depletion of hTERT impaired bacterial intracellular replication. In addition, we observed that L. monocytogenes caused a decrease in hTERT levels at early time points of the infectious process. This effect was mediated by the pore-forming toxin listeriolysin O (LLO) and did not require bacterial entry into host cells. Calcium influx through the LLO pores contributed to a proteasome-independent decrease in hTERT protein levels. Together, our data provide evidence that these bacteria trigger hTERT degradation, an event that is detrimental to bacterial replication.