Chlamydiae are Gram-negative obligate intracellular pathogens to which access to an intracellular environment is fundamental to their development. Chlamydial attachment to host cells induces the activation of the Rac GTPase, which is required for the localization of WAVE2 at the sites of chlamydial entry. Co-immunoprecipitation experiments demonstrated that Chlamydia trachomatis infection promoted the interaction of Rac with WAVE2 and Abi-1, but not with IRSp53. siRNA depletion of WAVE2 and Abi-1 abrogated chlamydia-induced actin recruitment and significantly reduced the uptake of the pathogen by the depleted cells. Chlamydia invasion also requires the Arp2/3 complex as demonstrated by its localization to the sites of chlamydial attachment and the reduced efficiency of chlamydial invasion in cells overexpressing the VCA domain of the neural Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein. Thus, C.trachomatis activates Rac and promotes its interaction with WAVE2 and Abi-1 to activate the Arp2/3 complex resulting in the induction of actin cytoskeletal rearrangements that are required for invasion.
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