Zinc at the host-pathogen interface: Strategies for overcoming zinc-stress in food-borne disease

Series Name LeMid Seminars
Speaker Jennifer Cavet
Type Lectures & Talks
Starts at Nov 13, 2018 12:00 PM
Ends at Nov 13, 2018 01:00 PM
Open To University staff and students

Host immune defences manipulate metal levels to attack invading microbes by metal-restriction and/or exposure to metal-excess. Microbes respond by employing various strategies to avoid metal-poisoning. Listeria monocytogenes and Campylobacter jejuni represent two important foodborne bacterial pathogens that target different host niches with differing metal challenges. Following ingestion, L. monocytogenes invades host cells and escapes from the internalisation phagosome into the host cell cytosol which permits its systemic spread; listeriosis being typified by high mortality rates. Zinc limitation within the host represents a challenge to L. monocytogenes which responds by employing two high affinity ABC-type zinc uptake systems, ZurLAM and ZinABC. Both systems contribute to growth in zinc-limited media, intracellular survival in vitro, infection in vivo, actin-based motility and cell-to-cell spread. C. jejuni rarely causes systemic disease but is a globally important cause of acute human gastroenteritis, with poultry being the major source of infections. We have identified a zinc resistance system in this pathogen that has unusual features of regulation that we predict allows C. jejuni to adapt to metal stress within different environmental niches, including during adaptation to and infection in its different hosts. Our work on the regulation, functions and mechanisms of the zinc handling systems in these pathogens, and their contributions to infections, will be presented.

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