Pathogenic lifestyles of E. coli pathotypes in a standardized epithelial cell model influence inflammatory signaling pathways and cytokines secretion

Javier Sanchez-Villamil, Gabriela Tapia-Pastrana, Fernando Navarro-Garcia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Inflammatory response is key for the host defense against diarrheagenic Escherichia coli and contributes to the pathogenesis of the disease but there is not a comparative study among different diarrheagenic pathotypes. We analyzed the inflammatory response induced by five diarrheagenic pathotypes in a HT-29 cell infection model. The model was unified to reproduce the pathogenesis of each pathotype. To compare the inflammatory responses we evaluated: (i) nuclear NF-κB and ERK1/2 translocation by confocal microscopy; (ii) kinetics of activation by each pathway detecting p65 and ERK1/2 phosphorylation by Western blotting; (iii) pathways modulation through bacterial infections with or without co-stimulation with TNF-α or EGF; (iv) cytokine profile induced by each pathotype with and without inhibitors of each pathway. EHEC but mainly EPEC inhibited translocation and activation of p65 and ERK1/2 pathways, as well as cytokines secretion; inhibition of p65 and ERK1/2 phosphorylation prevailed in the presence of TNF-α and EGF, respectively. Intracellular strains, EIEC/Shigella flexneri, caused a strong translocation, activation, and cytokines secretion but they could not inhibit TNF-α and EGF stimulation. ETEC and mainly EAEC caused a moderate translocation, but a differential activation, and high cytokines secretion; interestingly TNF-α and EGF stimulation did no modify p65 and ERK1/2 activation. The use of inhibitors of NF-κB and/or ERK1/2 showed that NF-κB is crucial for cytokine induction by the different pathotypes; only partially depended on ERK1/2 activation. Thus, in spite of their differences, the pathotypes can also be divided in three groups according to their inflammatory response as those (i) that inject effectors to cause A/E lesion, which are able to inhibit NF-κB and ERK1/2 pathways, and cytokine secretion; (ii) with fimbrial adherence and toxin secretion with a moderate inhibition of both pathways but high cytokines secretion through autocrine cytokine regulation; and (iii) the intracellular bacteria that induce the highest pathways activation and cytokines secretion by using different activation mechanisms. This study provides a comprehensive analysis of how the different pathogenesis schemes of E. coli pathotypes manipulate inflammatory signaling pathways, which leads to a specific proinflammatory cytokine secretion in a cell model infection that reproduce the hallmarks of infection of each pathotype.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number120
JournalFrontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology
Issue numberOCT
StatePublished - Oct 7 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • ERK1/2
  • IL-8
  • Inflammatory response
  • NF-κB
  • Pathogenic E. coli
  • TNF-α

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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