Salmonella typhimurium Coordinately Regulates FliC Location and Reduces Dendritic Cell Activation and Antigen Presentation to CD4+ T cells Academic Article uri icon


  • During infection, Salmonella transitions from an extracellular-phase (STEX, growth outside host cells) to an intracellular-phase (STIN, growth inside host cells): changes in gene expression mediate survival in the phagosome and modifies LPS and outer membrane protein expression, including altered production of FliC, an Ag recognized by immune CD4+ T cells. Previously, we demonstrated that systemic STIN bacteria repress FliC below the activation threshold of FliC-specific T cells. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that changes in FliC compartmentalization and bacterial responses triggered during the transition from STEX to STIN combine to reduce the ability of APCs to present FliC to CD4+ T cells. Approximately 50% of the Salmonella-specific CD4+ T cells from Salmonella-immune mice were FliC specific and produced IFN-gamma, demonstrating the potent immunogenicity of FliC. FliC expressed by STEX bacteria was efficiently presented by splenic APCs to FliC-specific CD4+ T cells in vitro. However, STIN bacteria, except when lysed, expressed FliC within a protected intracellular compartment and evaded stimulation of FliC-specific T cells. The combination of STIN-mediated responses that reduced FliC bioavailability were overcome by dendritic cells (DCs), which presented intracellular FliC within heat-killed bacteria; however, this ability was abrogated by live bacterial infection. Furthermore, STIN bacteria, unlike STEX, limited DC activation as measured by increased MHC class II, CD86, TNF-alpha, and IL-12 expression. These data indicate that STIN bacteria restrict FliC bioavailability by Ag compartmentalization, and together with STIN bacterial responses, limit DC maturation and cytokine production. Together, these mechanisms may restrain DC-mediated activation of FliC-specific CD4+ T cells.

author list (cited authors)

  • Alaniz, R. C., Cummings, L. A., Bergman, M. A., Rassoulian-Barrett, S. L., & Cookson, B. T.

citation count

  • 51

publication date

  • September 2006