Increasing evidence indicates that endogenous enteric bacteria play a crucial role in the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs). It is clear that gut flora contribute to the elevated levels of activated NF-???in the intestinal mucosa of IBD patients. However, it is unclear which bacterial strain and/or bacterial ?products contribute to the pathogenesis and/or maintenance of IBD. Due to the complexity of the gut flora, identification of the specific causative microbial agents in IBD remains challenging, and the search for the causative microbial agents is intense. AvrA is a pathogenic gene of certain bacteria whose encoded protein is inserted into intestinal epithelial cells through a Type III secretory pathway. In previous studies, we demonstrated that AvrA stabilizes ?-catenin, which is a negative regulator of the NF-?? pathway in epithelial cells. We hypothesize that the bacterial effector AvrA inhibits the NF-???pathway and actives the ?-catenin pathway to inhibit intestinal inflammation. In this study, I will focus on the mechanism and effects of AvrA, using both in vitro and in vivo approaches. For in vitro studies, we will colonize epithelial cells with AvrA-sufficient or -deficient bacteria strains. We will determine how the bacterial effector AvrA actually regulates NF-??/?-catenin binding and identify post-transcriptional changes in regulators of the NF-?? and ?-catenin pathways induced by AvrA (e.g., phosphorylations, ubiquitinations). We will investigate expression changes induced by AvrA in downstream targets (i.e., IL-8, c-myc, cyclin D1) of the NF-?? and???-catenin pathways. For in vivo studies, we will employ IL-10-/- mice that develop spontaneous colitis, which has been shown to require colonic bacterial colonization for full expression. These IL-10-/- mice will initially be raised in germ-free environments, and will then be mono-associated with E.coli F18 or E.coli F18AvrA+ to determine the function of AvrA in inhibiting inflammation in vivo. Elucidating the mechanisms of AvrA regulating the NF-?? and ?-catenin signaling pathways will provide new insights into how bacteria-host interactions contribute to inflammation. These studies have direct relevance to a better understanding of diseases such as inflammatory bowel diseases and infectious colitis. Lay language: This proposal is aimed at understanding the mechanism and effects of the bacterial protein AvrA in inhibiting inflammation. We will focus on the mechanism and effects of AvrA in cultured cells colonized with bacterial strains (with or without AvrA expression) and in a mouse colitis model. The information obtained from our research will provide new insights into the way bacteria-host interactions contribute to inflammation. This has direct relevance to a better understanding of diseases such as inflammatory bowel diseases and infectious colitis.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Research Scientist Development Award - Research & Training (K01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZDK1-GRB-R (J3))
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Podskalny, Judith M,
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Rush University Medical Center
Schools of Medicine
United States
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