Invasion of epithelial cells by Campylobacter jejuni is independent of caveolae

Michael E. Konkel, Derrick R. Samuelson, Tyson P. Eucker, Eric A. Shelden, Jason L. O'Loughlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Caveolae are 25-100 nm flask-like membrane structures enriched in cholesterol and glycosphingolipids. Researchers have proposed that Campylobacter jejuni require caveolae for cell invasion based on the finding that treatment of cells with the cholesterol-depleting compounds filipin III or methyl-β-cyclodextrin (MβCD) block bacterial internalization in a dose-dependent manner. The purpose of this study was to determine the role of caveolae and caveolin-1, a principal component of caveolae, in C. jejuni internalization. Consistent with previous work, we found that the treatment of HeLa cells with MβCD inhibited C. jejuni internalization. However, we also found that the treatment of HeLa cells with caveolin-1 siRNA, which resulted in greater than a 90% knockdown in caveolin-1 protein levels, had no effect on C. jejuni internalization. Based on this observation we performed a series of experiments that demonstrate that MβCD acts broadly, disrupting host cell lipid rafts and C. jejuni-induced cell signaling. More specifically, we found that MβCD inhibits the cellular events necessary for C. jejuni internalization, including membrane ruffling and Rac1 GTPase activation. We also demonstrate that MβCD disrupted the association of the β1 integrin and EGF receptor, which are required for the maximal invasion of epithelial cells. In agreement with these findings, C. jejuni were able to invade human Caco-2 cells, which are devoid of caveolae, at a level equal to that of HeLa cells. Taken together, the results of our study demonstrate that C. jejuni internalization occurs in a caveolae-independent manner.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100
JournalCell Communication and Signaling
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 23 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Caveolin-1
  • Cell signaling
  • Focal complex
  • Lipid rafts
  • Membrane ruffling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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