Mycobacteria Manipulate G-Protein-Coupled Receptors to Increase Mucosal Rac1 Expression in the Lungs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mycobacterium bovis bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) is currently the only approved vaccine against tuberculosis (TB). BCG mimics M. tuberculosis (Mtb) in its persistence in the body and is used as a benchmark to compare new vaccine candidates. BCG was originally designed for mucosal vaccination, but comprehensive knowledge about its interaction with epithelium is currently lacking. We used primary airway epithelial cells (AECs) and a murine model to investigate the initial events of mucosal BCG interactions. Furthermore, we analysed the impact of the G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), CXCR1 and CXCR2, in this process, as these receptors were previously shown to be important during TB infection. BCG infection of AECs induced GPCR-dependent Rac1 up-regulation, resulting in actin redistribution. The altered distribution of the actin cytoskeleton involved the MAPK signalling pathway. Blocking of the CXCR1 or CXCR2 prior to infection decreased Rac1 expression, and increased epithelial transcriptional activity and epithelial cytokine production. BCG infection did not result in epithelial cell death as measured by p53 phosphorylation and annexin. This study demonstrated that BCG infection of AECs manipulated the GPCRs to suppress epithelial signalling pathways. Future vaccine strategies could thus be improved by targeting GPCRs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)318-329
JournalJournal of Innate Immunity
Early online date2016 Dec 24
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Respiratory Medicine and Allergy
  • Immunology in the medical area


Dive into the research topics of 'Mycobacteria Manipulate G-Protein-Coupled Receptors to Increase Mucosal Rac1 Expression in the Lungs'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this