A cytotoxic enterotoxin (Act) of Aeromonas hydrophila possesses several biological activities, and it induces an inflammatory response in the host. In this study, we used microarrays to gain a global and molecular view of the cellular transcriptional responses to Act and to identify important genes up-regulated by this toxin. Total RNA was isolated at 0, 2, and 12 h from Act-treated macrophages and applied to Affymetrix MGU74 arrays, and the data were processed using a multi-analysis approach to identify genes that might be critical in the inflammatory process evoked by Act. Seventy-six genes were significantly and consistently upregulated. Many of these genes were immune-related, and several were transcription factors, adhesion molecules, and cytokines. Additionally, we identified several apoptosis-associated genes that were significantly upregulated in Act-treated macrophages. Act-induced apoptosis of macrophages was confirmed by annexin V staining and DNA laddering. Quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay were used to verify increased expression of some inflammatory and apoptosis-associated genes identified by the microarray analysis. To further confirm Act-induced increases in gene expression, real-time RT-PCR was also used for selected genes. Taken together, the array data provided for the first time a global view of Act-mediated signal transduction and clearly demonstrated an inflammatory response and apoptosis mediated by this toxin in host cells at the molecular level.
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