Talin and vinculin, both actin-cytoskeleton-related proteins, have been documented to participate in establishing bacterial infections, respectively, as the adapter protein to mediate cytoskeleton-driven dynamics of the plasma membrane. However, little is known regarding the potential role of the talin–vinculin complex during spotted fever group rickettsial and Ebola virus infections, two dreadful infectious diseases in humans. Many functional properties of proteins are determined by their participation in protein–protein complexes, in a temporal and/or spatial manner. To resolve the limitation of application in using mouse primary antibodies on archival, multiple formalin-fixed mouse tissue samples, which were collected from experiments requiring high biocontainment, we developed a practical strategic proximity ligation assay (PLA) capable of employing one primary antibody raised in mouse to probe talin–vinculin spatial proximal complex in mouse tissue. We observed an increase of talin–vinculin spatial proximities in the livers of spotted fever Rickettsiaaustralis or Ebola virus-infected mice when compared with mock mice. Furthermore, using EPAC1-knockout mice, we found that deletion of EPAC1 could suppress the formation of spatial proximal complex of talin–vinculin in rickettsial infections. In addition, we observed increased colocalization between spatial proximity of talin–vinculin and filamentous actin-specific phalloidin staining in single survival mouse from an ordinarily lethal dose of rickettsial or Ebola virus infection. These findings may help to delineate a fresh insight into the mechanisms underlying liver specific pathogenesis during infection with spotted fever rickettsia or Ebola virus in the mouse model.
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