Serine protease(s) secreted by the nematode Trichuris muris degrade the mucus barrier

Hasnain, Sumaira Z., McGuckin, Michael A., Grencis, Richard K. and Thornton, David J. (2012) Serine protease(s) secreted by the nematode Trichuris muris degrade the mucus barrier. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 6 10: e1856.1-e1856.13. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0001856


Author Hasnain, Sumaira Z.
McGuckin, Michael A.
Grencis, Richard K.
Thornton, David J.
Title Serine protease(s) secreted by the nematode Trichuris muris degrade the mucus barrier
Formatted title
Serine protease(s) secreted by the nematode Trichuris muris degrade the mucus barrier
Journal name PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1935-2735
1935-2727
Publication date 2012-10-11
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1371/journal.pntd.0001856
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 6
Issue 10
Start page e1856.1
End page e1856.13
Total pages 13
Editor Andrew Scott MacDonald
Place of publication San Francisco, CA, United States
Publisher Public Library of Science
Formatted abstract
The polymeric mucin component of the intestinal mucus barrier changes during nematode infection to provide not only physical protection but also to directly affect pathogenic nematodes and aid expulsion. Despite this, the direct interaction of the nematodes with the mucins and the mucus barrier has not previously been addressed. We used the well-established Trichuris muris nematode model to investigate the effect on mucins of the complex mixture of immunogenic proteins secreted by the nematode called excretory/secretory products (ESPs). Different regimes of T. muris infection were used to simulate chronic (low dose) or acute (high dose) infection. Mucus/mucins isolated from mice and from the human intestinal cell line, LS174T, were treated with ESPs. We demonstrate that serine protease(s) secreted by the nematode have the ability to change the properties of the mucus barrier, making it more porous by degrading the mucin component of the mucus gel. Specifically, the serine protease(s) acted on the N-terminal polymerising domain of the major intestinal mucin Muc2, resulting in depolymerisation of Muc2 polymers. Importantly, the respiratory/gastric mucin Muc5ac, which is induced in the intestine and is critical for worm expulsion, was protected from the depolymerising effect exerted by ESPs. Furthermore, serine protease inhibitors (Serpins) which may protect the mucins, in particular Muc2, from depolymerisation, were highly expressed in mice resistant to chronic infection. Thus, we demonstrate that nematodes secrete serine protease(s) to degrade mucins within the mucus barrier, which may modify the niche of the parasite to prevent clearance from the host or facilitate efficient mating and egg laying from the posterior end of the parasite that is in intimate contact with the mucus barrier. However, during a TH2-mediated worm expulsion response, serpins, Muc5ac and increased levels of Muc2 protect the barrier from degradation by the nematode secreted protease(s).

Author Summary: Gastrointestinal parasitic worm infections cause significant morbidity, affecting up to a third of the world's populationand their domestic pets and livestock. Mucus, the gel-like material that blankets the surface of the intestine, forms a protective barrier that is an important part of our innate immune system. The whipworm Trichuris is closely associated with the intestinal mucus barrier. The major structural component of this barrier, large glycoproteins known as mucins play a significant role in the expulsion of these worms in a mouse model. Using mice that get longterm chronic infections and others able to expel the worms from the intestine, we uncover a novel role for products secreted by the worms. Enzymes secreted by whipworms can disrupt the mucin network that gives mucus its viscous properties. Moreover, we unravel that worm products are unable to degrade forms of mucins present in the mucus barrier during worm expulsion, suggesting that these enzymes may be released by the worm as part of its regime to improve its niche and survival in the host. However, the host is capable of producing mucins and other protective molecules that protect the mucus barrier from degradation and are detrimental to the viability of the worm.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Biomedical Sciences Publications
 
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Created: Tue, 14 Jan 2014, 17:29:55 EST by Michael Mcguckin on behalf of School of Biomedical Sciences