Legionella pneumophila Modulates Mitochondrial Dynamics to Trigger Metabolic Repurposing of Infected Macrophages
The intracellular bacteria Legionella pneumophila encodes a type IV secretion system (T4SS) that injects effector proteins into macrophages in order to establish and replicate within the Legionella-containing vacuole (LCV). Once generated, the LCV interacts with mitochondria through unclear mechanisms. We show that Legionella uses both T4SS-independent and T4SS-dependent mechanisms to respectively interact with mitochondria and induce mitochondrial fragmentation that ultimately alters mitochondrial metabolism. The T4SS effector MitF, a Ran GTPase activator, is required for fission of the mitochondrial network. These effects of MitF occur through accumulation of mitochondrial DNM1L, a GTPase critical for fission. Furthermore mitochondrial respiration is abruptly halted in a T4SS-dependent manner, while T4SS-independent upregulation of cellular glycolysis remains elevated. Collectively, these alterations in mitochondrial dynamics promote a Warburg-like phenotype in macrophages that favors bacterial replication. Hence the rewiring of cellular bioenergetics to create a replication permissive niche in host cells is a virulence strategy of L. pneumophila.
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