Bacterial lysis liberates the neutrophil migration suppressor YbcL from the periplasm of uropathogenic Escherichia coli

Megan E. Lau, Elizabeth S. Danka, Kristin M. Tiemann, David A. Hunstad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC) modulates aspects of the innate immune response during urinary tract infection to facilitate bacterial invasion of the bladder epithelium, a requirement for the propagation of infection. For example, UPEC-encoded YbcL suppresses the traversal of bladder epithelia by neutrophils in both an in vitro model and an in vivo murine cystitis model. The suppressive activity of YbcL requires liberation from the bacterial periplasm, though the mechanism of release is undefined. Here we present findings on the site of action of YbcL and demonstrate a novel mode of secretion for a UPEC exoprotein. Suppression of neutrophil migration by purified YbcLUTI, encoded by cystitis isolate UTI89, required the presence of a uroepithelial layer; YbcLUTI did not inhibit neutrophil chemotaxis directly. YbcLUTI was released to a greater extent during UPEC infection of uroepithelial cells than during that of neutrophils. Release of YbcLUTI was maximal when UPEC and bladder epithelial cells were in close proximity. Established modes of secretion, including outer membrane vesicles, the type II secretion system, and the type IV pilus, were dispensable for YbcLUTI release from UPEC. Instead, YbcLUTI was liberated during bacterial death, which was augmented upon exposure to bladder epithelial cells, as confirmed by detection of bacterial cytoplasmic proteins and DNA in the supernatant and enumeration of bacteria with compromised membranes. As YbcLUTI acts on the uroepithelium to attenuate neutrophil migration, this mode of release may represent a type of altruistic cooperation within a UPEC population during colonization of the urinary tract.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4921-4930
Number of pages10
JournalInfection and immunity
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2014


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