Active bacterial modification of the host environment through RNA polymerase II inhibition
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article
Unlike pathogens, which attack the host, commensal bacteria create a state of friendly coexistence. Here, we identified a mechanism of bacterial adaptation to the host niche, where they reside. Asymptomatic carrier strains were shown to inhibit RNA polymerase II (Pol II) in host cells by targeting Ser2 phosphorylation, a step required for productive mRNA elongation. Assisted by a rare, spontaneous loss-of-function mutant from a human carrier, the bacterial NlpD protein was identified as a Pol II inhibitor. After internalization by host cells, NlpD was shown to target constituents of the Pol II phosphorylation complex (RPB1 and PAF1C), attenuating host gene expression. Therapeutic efficacy of a recombinant NlpD protein was demonstrated in a urinary tract infection model, by reduced tissue pathology, accelerated bacterial clearance, and attenuated Pol II-dependent gene expression. The findings suggest an intriguing, evolutionarily conserved mechanism for bacterial modulation of host gene expression, with a remarkable therapeutic potential.
|Research areas and keywords||
Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY
|Number of pages||17|
|Journal||Journal of Clinical Investigation|
|Publication status||Published - 2021 Feb 15|