ExoU-induced procoagulant activity in Pseudomonas aeruginosa-infected airway cells

M C Plotkowski, L F P Feliciano, G B S Machado, L G Cunha, C Freitas, A M Saliba, M C de Assis
European Respiratory Journal 2008, 32 (6): 1591-8
The present study addressed the question whether ExoU, a Pseudomonas aeruginosa toxin with phospholipase A2 (PLA2) activity, may induce airway epithelial cells to overexpress tissue factor (TF) and exhibit a procoagulant phenotype. Cells from the human bronchial epithelial BEAS-2B line were infected with an ExoU-producing P. aeruginosa strain, pre-treated or not with the cytosolic PLA2 inhibitor methylarachidonyl fluorophosphate (MAFP), or with two ExoU-deficient mutants. Control noninfected and infected cells were assessed for the expression of: 1) TF mRNA by RT-PCR; 2) cell-associated TF by enzyme immunoassay and flow cytometry; 3) procoagulant activity by a colorimetric assay; and 4) microparticle-associated TF by flow cytometry. An enzyme immunoassay was also used to assess cell-associated TF in lung extracts from mice infected intratracheally with ExoU-producing and -deficient bacteria. Cells infected with the wild-type bacteria had higher levels of TF mRNA, cell-associated TF expression, procoagulant activity and released microparticle-associated TF than cells infected with the mutants. Bacterial treatment with MAFP significantly reduced the expression of TF by infected cells. Lung samples from mice infected with the wild-type bacteria exhibited higher levels of cell-associated TF and procoagulant activity. The present results demonstrate that ExoU may contribute to the pathogenesis of lung injury by inducing a tissue factor-dependent procoagulant activity in airway epithelial cells.

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