Coating and Corruption of Human Neutrophils by Bacterial Outer Membrane Vesicles

Marines du Teil Espina, Yanyan Fu, Demi van der Horst, Claudia Hirschfeld, Marina López-Álvarez, Lianne M Mulder, Costanza Gscheider, Anna Haider Rubio, Minke Huitema, Dörte Becher, Peter Heeringa, Jan Maarten van Dijl*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
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Porphyromonas gingivalis is a keystone oral pathogen that successfully manipulates the human innate immune defenses, resulting in a chronic proinflammatory state of periodontal tissues and beyond. Here, we demonstrate that secreted outer membrane vesicles (OMVs) are deployed by P. gingivalis to selectively coat and activate human neutrophils, thereby provoking degranulation without neutrophil killing. Secreted granule components with antibacterial activity, especially LL-37 and myeloperoxidase (MPO), are subsequently degraded by potent OMV-bound proteases known as gingipains, thereby ensuring bacterial survival. In contrast to neutrophils, the P. gingivalis OMVs are efficiently internalized by macrophages and epithelial cells. Importantly, we show that neutrophil coating is a conserved feature displayed by OMVs of at least one other oral pathogen, namely, Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans. We conclude that P. gingivalis deploys its OMVs for a neutrophil-deceptive strategy to create a favorable inflammatory niche and escape killing. IMPORTANCE Severe periodontitis is a dysbiotic inflammatory disease that affects about 15% of the adult population, making it one of the most prevalent diseases worldwide. Importantly, periodontitis has been associated with the development of nonoral diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, pancreatic cancer, and Alzheimer's disease. Periodontal pathogens implicated in periodontitis can survive in the oral cavity only by avoiding the insults of neutrophils while at the same time promoting an inflamed environment where they successfully thrive. Our present findings show that outer membrane vesicles secreted by the keystone pathogen Porphyromonas gingivalis provide an effective delivery tool of virulence factors that protect the bacterium from being killed while simultaneously activating human neutrophils.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0075322
Number of pages16
JournalMicrobiology Spectrum
Issue number5
Early online date24-Aug-2022
Publication statusPublished - Sept-2022

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