Aquaporins in Infection and Inflammation

Sammanfattning: The ability of eukaryotic cells to change their shape and to migrate directionally is highly dependent on active volume regulation in cells building up tissues as well as in individual cells. Transmembrane fluxes of water via specialized water channels, called aquaporins (AQPs), facilitate the changes of volume and shape, which additionally require a complex interplay between the plasma membrane and the cytoskeleton. AQPs have been shown to be involved in the development of inflammatory processes and diseases. The aims of the studies underlying this thesis were to further elucidate the expression and function of AQPs in both bacterial and viral infections as well as in the inflammatory disease, microscopic colitis. For this, molecular techniques qPCR, immunoblotting and live, holographic, confocal and super-resolution imaging were used.When cells of the innate immune system encounter pathogens they need to respond and prepare for migration and phagocytosis and do so through volume regulatory processes. The Gramnegative bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa utilizes a small molecule-based communication system, called quorum sensing (QS) to control the production of its virulence factors and biofilms. We found that P. aeruginosa with a complete QS system elicits a stronger phagocytic response in human blood-derived macrophages compared to its lasI-/rhlI- mutant lacking the production of the QS molecules N-butyryl-L-homoserine lactone (C4-HSL) and N-3-oxododecanoyl-L-homoserine lactone (3O-C12-HSL). Infection with P. aeruginosa further increases the expression of AQP9 and induces re-localisation of AQP9 to the front and trailing ends of macrophages. Moreover, the 3O-C12-HSL alone elevates the expression of AQP9, redistribute the water channel to the front and rear ends and increases the cell area and volume of macrophages. Both infection with the wild type P. aeruginosa and the treatment with 3OC12-HSL change the nano-structural architecture of the AQP9 distribution in macrophages.Viruses use the intracellular machinery of the invaded cells to produce and assemble new viral bodies. Intracellular AQPs are localised in a membranes of cellular organelles to regulate their function and morphology. C3H10T1/2 fibroblasts transiently expressing green fluorescent protein (GFP)-AQP6 show a reduced expression of AQP6 after Hazara virus infection and an increased cell area. Overexpressing AQP6 in C3H10T1/2 cells reduces the infectivity of Hazara virus indicating that AQP6 expression has a protective role in virus infections.Ion and water channels in the epithelial cell lining tightly regulate the water homeostasis. In microscopic colitis (MC), patients suffer from severe watery diarrhoeas. For the first time, we have shown that the expression of AQP1, 8 and 11 and the sodium/hydrogen exchanger NHE1 are reduced in colonic biopsies from MC patients compared to healthy control individuals. Following treatment with the glucocorticoid budesonide the patients experienced a rapid recovery and we observed a restored or increased expression of the AQPs and NHE1 during treatment, suggesting a role for AQPs in the diarrhoeal mechanisms in MC.Taken together, this thesis provides new evidence on the importance of water homeostasis regulation through AQPs during infections and inflammation and opens up a door for further investigations of roles for AQPs in inflammatory processes.

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