Chlamydia trachomatis Infection Leads to Defined Alterations to the Lipid Droplet Proteome in Epithelial Cells.
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The obligate intracellular bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis is a major human pathogen and a main cause of genital and ocular diseases. During its intracellular cycle, C. trachomatis replicates inside a membrane-bound vacuole termed an "inclusion". Acquisition of lipids (and other nutrients) from the host cell is a critical step in chlamydial replication. Lipid droplets (LD) are ubiquitous, ER-derived neutral lipid-rich storage organelles surrounded by a phospholipids monolayer and associated proteins. Previous studies have shown that LDs accumulate at the periphery of, and eventually translocate into, the chlamydial inclusion. These observations point out to Chlamydia-mediated manipulation of LDs in infected cells, which may impact the function and thereby the protein composition of these organelles. By means of a label-free quantitative mass spectrometry approach we found that the LD proteome is modified in the context of C. trachomatis infection. We determined that LDs isolated from C. trachomatis-infected cells were enriched in proteins related to lipid metabolism, biosynthesis and LD-specific functions. Interestingly, consistent with the observation that LDs intimately associate with the inclusion, a subset of inclusion membrane proteins co-purified with LD protein extracts. Finally, genetic ablation of LDs negatively affected generation of C. trachomatis infectious progeny, consistent with a role for LD biogenesis in optimal chlamydial growth.