AcpA of Francisella spp. is a respiratory-burst-inhibiting acid phosphatase that also exhibits phospholipase C activity. To better understand the molecular basis of AcpA in virulence, a deletion of acpA was constructed in Francisella novicida. The phosphatase and lipase activities were reduced 10-fold and 8-fold, respectively, in the acpA mutant compared to the wild type and were found mostly associated with the outer membrane. The acpA mutant was more susceptible to intracellular killing than the wild-type strain in the THP-1 human macrophage-like cell line. In addition, mice infected with the acpA mutant survived longer than the wild-type strain and were less fit than the wild-type strain in competition infection assays. Transmission electron microscopy showed that the acpA mutant was delayed in escape from macrophage phagosomes, as more than 75% of acpA mutant bacteria could still be found inside phagosomes after 12 h of infection in THP-1 cells and human monocyte-derived macrophages, whereas most of the wild-type bacteria had escaped from the phagosome by 6 h postinfection. Thus, AcpA affects intracellular trafficking and the fate of Francisella within host macrophages.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases