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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology
Volume (Issue) 84(11)
Page(s) e00158-18 - e00158-18
Title of proceedings Applied and Environmental Microbiology
DOI 10.1128/aem.00158-18


ABSTRACT The ubiquitous environmental bacterium Legionella pneumophila survives and replicates within amoebae and human macrophages by forming a Legionella -containing vacuole (LCV). In an intricate process governed by the bacterial Icm/Dot type IV secretion system and a plethora of effector proteins, the nascent LCV interferes with a number of intracellular trafficking pathways, including retrograde transport from endosomes to the Golgi apparatus. Conserved retrograde trafficking components, such as the retromer coat complex or the phosphoinositide (PI) 5-phosphatase D. discoideum 5-phosphatase 4 (Dd5P4)/oculocerebrorenal syndrome of Lowe (OCRL), restrict intracellular replication of L. pneumophila by an unknown mechanism. Here, we established an imaging flow cytometry (IFC) approach to assess in a rapid, unbiased, and large-scale quantitative manner the role of retrograde-linked PI metabolism and actin dynamics in the LCV composition. Exploiting Dictyostelium discoideum genetics, we found that Dd5P4 modulates the acquisition of fluorescently labeled LCV markers, such as calnexin, the small GTPase Rab1 (but not Rab7 and Rab8), and retrograde trafficking components (Vps5, Vps26, Vps35). The actin-nucleating protein and retromer interactor WASH (Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein [WASP] and suppressor of cAMP receptor [SCAR] homologue) promotes the accumulation of Rab1 and Rab8 on LCVs. Collectively, our findings validate IFC for the quantitative and unbiased analysis of the pathogen vacuole composition and reveal the impact of retrograde-linked PI metabolism and actin dynamics on the LCV composition. The IFC approach employed here can be adapted for a molecular analysis of the pathogen vacuole composition of other amoeba-resistant pathogens. IMPORTANCELegionella pneumophila is an amoeba-resistant environmental bacterium which can cause a life-threatening pneumonia termed Legionnaires' disease. In order to replicate intracellularly, the opportunistic pathogen forms a protective compartment, the Legionella -containing vacuole (LCV). An in-depth analysis of the LCV composition and the complex process of pathogen vacuole formation is crucial for understanding the virulence of L. pneumophila . Here, we established an imaging flow cytometry (IFC) approach to assess in a rapid, unbiased, and quantitative manner the accumulation of fluorescently labeled markers and probes on LCVs. Using IFC and L. pneumophila -infected Dictyostelium discoideum or defined mutant amoebae, a role for phosphoinositide (PI) metabolism, retrograde trafficking, and the actin cytoskeleton in the LCV composition was revealed. In principle, the powerful IFC approach can be used to analyze the molecular composition of any cellular compartment harboring bacterial pathogens.