Katherine A. Owen, C. J. Anderson, James E. Casanova
Salmonella enterica is an intracellular pathogen that causes diseases ranging from gastroenteritis to typhoid fever. Salmonella bacteria trigger an autophagic response in host cells upon infection but have evolved mechanisms for suppressing this response, thereby enhancing intracellular survival. We recently reported that S. enterica serovar Typhimurium actively recruits the host tyrosine kinase focal adhesion kinase (FAK) to the surface of the Salmonella-containing vacuole (SCV) (K. A. Owen et al., PLoS Pathog 10:e1004159, 2014). FAK then suppresses autophagy through activation of the Akt/mTORC1 signaling pathway. In FAK−/− macrophages, bacteria are captured in autophagosomes and intracellular survival is attenuated. Here we show that the cell-autonomous bacterial suppression of autophagy also suppresses the broader innate immune response by inhibiting production of beta interferon (IFN-β). Induction of bacterial autophagy (xenophagy), but not autophagy alone, triggers IFN-β production through a pathway involving the adapter TRIF and endosomal Toll-like receptor 3 (TLR3) and TLR4. Selective FAK knockout in macrophages resulted in rapid bacterial clearance from mucosal tissues after oral infection. Clearance correlated with increased IFN-β production by intestinal macrophages and with IFN-β-dependent induction of IFN-γ by intestinal NK cells. Blockade of either IFN-β or IFN-γ increased host susceptibility to infection, whereas experimental induction of IFN-β was protective. Thus, bacterial suppression of autophagy not only enhances cell-autonomous survival but also suppresses more-systemic innate immune responses by limiting type I and type II interferons.
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