Previous works suggest that sugars can have a beneficial effect on C. trachomatis
(CT) survival and virulence. In this study, we investigated the effect of different sugars on CT infectivity, elucidating some of the molecular mechanisms behind CT-sugar interaction. Methods.
CT infectivity was investigated on HeLa cells after 2 hour-incubation of elementary bodies (EBs) with glucose, sucrose, or mannitol solutions (0.5, 2.5, 5.0 mM). The effect of sugars on EB membrane fluidity was investigated by fluorescence anisotropy measurement, whereas the changes in lipopolysaccharide (LPS) exposure were examined by cytofluorimetric analysis. By means of a Western blot, we explored the phosphorylation state of Focal Adhesion Kinase (FAK) in HeLa cells infected with EBs pre-incubated with sugars. Results.
All sugar solutions significantly increased CT infectivity on epithelial cells, acting directly on the EB structure. Sugars induced a significant increase of EB membrane fluidity, leading to changes in LPS membrane exposure. Especially after incubation with sucrose and mannitol, EBs led to a higher FAK phosphorylation, enhancing the activation of anti-apoptotic and proliferative signals in the host cells. Conclusions.
Sugars can increase CT infectivity and virulence, by modulating the expression/exposure of chlamydial membrane ligands. Further in-depth studies are needed to better understand the molecular mechanisms involved.
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