Tiziana Scanu, Robbert M. Saapen, Jeroen M. Bakker, Chandra Bhan Pratap, Lin-en Wu, Ingrid Hofland, Annegien Broeks, Vijay Kumar Shukla, Mohan Kumar, Hans Jannsen, Ji-Ying Song, E. Andra Neefjes-Borst, Hein te Riele, David W. Holden, Gopal Nath, Jacques Neefjes
Cancer is fueled by deregulation of signaling pathways in control of cellular growth and proliferation. These pathways are also targeted by infectious pathogens en route to establishing infection. Gallbladder carcinoma (GBC) is frequent in the Indian subcontinent, with chronic Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi infection reported as a significant risk factor. However, direct association and causal mechanisms between Salmonella Typhi infection and GBC have not been established. Deconstructing the epidemiological association between GBC and Salmonella Typhi infection, we show that Salmonella enterica induces malignant transformation in predisposed mice, murine gallbladder organoids, and fibroblasts, with TP53 mutations and c-MYC amplification. Mechanistically, activation of MAPK and AKT pathways, mediated by Salmonella enterica effectors secreted during infection, is critical to both ignite and sustain transformation, consistent with observations in GBC patients from India. Collectively, our findings indicate that Salmonella enterica can promote transformation of genetically predisposed cells and is a causative agent of GBC.
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