Chlamydia trachomatis is a Gram-negative obligate intracellular bacterium that preferentially infects epithelial cells. Professional phagocytes provide C. trachomatis only a limited ability to survive and are proficient killers of chlamydiae. We present evidence herein that identifies a novel host defense protein, perforin-2, that plays a significant role in the eradication of C. tra-chomatis during the infection of macrophages. Knockdown of perforin-2 in macrophages did not alter the invasion of host cells but did result in chlamydial growth that closely mirrored that detected in HeLa cells. C trachomatis L2, serovar B, and serovar D and C. muridarum were all equally susceptible to perforin-2-mediated killing. Interestingly, induction of perforin-2 expression in epithelial cells is blocked during productive chlamydial growth, thereby protecting chlamydiae from bactericidal attack. Ectopic expression of perforin-2 in HeLa cells, however, does result in killing. Overall, our data implicate a new innate resistance protein in the control of chlamydial infection and may help explain why the macrophage environment is hostile to chlamydial growth.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases