Characterisation of autophagy disruption in the ileum of pigs infected with Lawsonia intracellularis

Hamish A Salvesen, Fiona A Sargison, Alan L Archibald, Tahar Ait-Ali

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Lawsonia intracellularis is the aetiological agent of proliferative enteropathy, an enteric disease endemic in swine. Survival in its intracellular niche of the ileum epithelial lining requires the capacity to subvert, repress or exploit the host immune response to create an environment conducive to bacterial propagation. To better understand how L. intracellularis survives in its intracellular niche, we have performed an investigation into the dynamic relationship between infection and the host autophagy response by immunohistochemistry in experimentally infected porcine ileum samples.Beclin1, a protein required early in the autophagy pathway was observed to be distributed with a basal to apical concentration gradient in the crypts of healthy piglets, whilst infected piglets were observed to have no gradient of distribution and an increase in the presence of Beclin1 in crypts with histological characteristics of L. intracellularis residence. Detecting microtubule-associated protein light chain 3 (LC3) is used as a method for monitoring autophagy progression as it associates with mature autophagosomes. For LC3 there was no notable change in signal intensity between crypts with characteristic L. intracellularis infection and healthy crypts of uninfected pigs. Finally, as p62 is degraded with the internal substrate of an autophagosome it was used to measure autophagic flux. There was no observed reduction or redistribution of p62.These preliminary results of the autophagy response in the ileum suggest that L. intracellularis affects autophagy. This disruption to host ileum homeostasis may provide a mechanism that assists in bacterial propagation and contributes to pathogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
JournalVeterinary Research Communications
Early online date20 Oct 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Oct 2021

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Autophagy
  • Lawsonia intracellularis
  • Pig
  • Proliferative enteropathy
  • Intestinal homeostasis


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