Host phospholipid peroxidation fuels ExoU-dependent cell necrosis and supports Pseudomonas aeruginosa-driven pathology

S. Bagayoko, S.A. Leon-Icaza, M. Pinilla, A. Hessel, K. Santoni, D. Pericat, P.J. Bordignon, F. Moreau, E. Eren, A. Boyance, E. Naser, L. Lefevre, C. Berrone, N. Iakobachvili, A. Metais, Y. Rombouts, G. Lugo-Villarino, A. Coste, I. Attree, D.W. FrankH. Clevers, P.J. Peters, C. Cougoule, R. Planes*, E. Meunier*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Web of Science)


Regulated cell necrosis supports immune and anti-infectious strategies of the body; however, dysregulation of these processes drives pathological organ damage. Pseudomonas aeruginosa expresses a phospholipase, ExoU that triggers pathological host cell necrosis through a poorly characterized pathway. Here, we investigated the molecular and cellular mechanisms of ExoU-mediated necrosis. We show that cellular peroxidised phospholipids enhance ExoU phospholipase activity, which drives necrosis of immune and non-immune cells. Conversely, both the endogenous lipid peroxidation regulator GPX4 and the pharmacological inhibition of lipid peroxidation delay ExoU-dependent cell necrosis and improve bacterial elimination in vitro and in vivo. Our findings also pertain to the ExoU-related phospholipase from the bacterial pathogen Burkholderia thailandensis, suggesting that exploitation of peroxidised phospholipids might be a conserved virulence mechanism among various microbial phospholipases. Overall, our results identify an original lipid peroxidation-based virulence mechanism as a strong contributor of microbial phospholipase-driven pathology.</p>Author summaryAlthough a proper activation of various regulated cell necrosis confer a significant advantage against various infectious agents, their dysregulation drives host tissue damages that can end up with fatal sepsis. Specifically, 30% of the bacterial strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa (P. aeruginosa) express the phospholipase A2-like toxin ExoU that is injected into host target cells through the Type-3 Secretion System. This toxin induces, through a yet unknown mechanism, a strong and fast necrotic cell death that supports fatal respiratory infections. Therefore, in this study, we sought to determine the cellular mechanisms by which ExoU triggers host cell necrosis. In this context, we found that ExoU exploits basal cellular phospholipid peroxidation to promote cell necrosis. Mechanistically, host cell lipid peroxidation stimulates ExoU phospholipase activity, which then triggers a pathological cell necrosis both in vitro and in vivo. Altogether, our results unveil that targeting host cell lipid peroxidation constitutes a virulence mechanism developed by microbial phospholipases, a process that contributes to P. aeruginosa-mediated pathology.</p>
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1009927
Number of pages29
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2021


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