Pic-producing escherichia coli induces high production of proinflammatory mediators by the host leading to death by sepsis

Escherichia coli is an important pathogen responsible for a variety of diseases. We have recently shown that Pic, a serine protease secreted by E. coli, mediates immune evasion by the direct cleavage of complement molecules. The aim of this study was to investigate the action of a Pic-producing bacteria in a murine model of sepsis. Mice were infected with Pic-producing E. coli (F5) or F5?pic mutant. Animal survival was monitored for five days, and a subset of mice was euthanized after 12 h for sample acquisition. The inoculation of Pic-producing bacteria induced 100% death within 24 h. The colony forming units count in the organs was significantly higher in F5. Hematological analysis showed a decrease of total leukocytes. Nitric oxide and cytokines were detected in serum, as well as on peritoneal lavage of the F5 group in higher levels than those detected in the other groups. In addition, immunophenotyping showed a decrease of activated lymphocytes and macrophages in the F5 group. Therefore, Pic represents an important virulence factor, allowing the survival of the bacterium in the bloodstream and several organs, as well as inducing a high production of proinflammatory mediators by the host, and concomitantly a cellular immunosuppression, leading to sepsis and death
Keywords
Escherichia coli;  Pic;  serine protease;  virulence;  sepsis

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Dutra IL., Araújo LG., Assunção RG., Lima YA., Nascimento JR., Vale AA.M., et al. Pic-producing escherichia coli induces high production of proinflammatory mediators by the host leading to death by sepsis. Int. J. Mol. Sci.. 2020 Mar;21(6):2068. doi:10.3390/ijms21062068.
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