Novel role of the nitrite transporter NirC in Salmonella pathogenesis: SPI2-dependent suppression of inducible nitric oxide synthase in activated macrophages

Prikanya Das, Amit Lahiri, Ayan Lahiri, Dipshikha Chakravorthy

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47 Scopus citations

Abstract

Activation of macrophages by interferon gamma (IFN-γ) and the subsequent production of nitric oxide (NO) are critical for the host defence against Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium infection. We report here the inhibition of IFN-γ-induced NO production in RAW264.7 macrophages infected with wild-type Salmonella. This phenomenon was shown to be dependent on the nirC gene, which encodes a potential nitrite transporter. We observed a higher NO output from IFN-γ-treated macrophages infected with a nirC mutant of Salmonella. The nirC mutant also showed significantly decreased intracellular proliferation in a NO-dependent manner in activated RAW264.7 macrophages and in liver, spleen and secondary lymph nodes of mice, which was restored by complementing the gene in trans. Under acidified nitrite stress, a twofold more pronounced NO-mediated repression of SPI2 was observed in the nirC knockout strain compared to the wild-type. This enhanced SPI2 repression in the nirC knockout led to a higher level of STAT-1 phosphorylation and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) expression than seen with the wild-type strain. In iNOS knockout mice, the organ load of the nirC knockout strain was similar to that of the wild-type strain, indicating that the mutant is exclusively sensitive to the host nitrosative stress. Taken together, these results reveal that intracellular Salmonella evade killing in activated macrophages by downregulating IFN-γ-induced NO production, and they highlight the critical role of nirC as a virulence gene.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2476-2489
Number of pages14
JournalMicrobiology (United Kingdom)
Volume155
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

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