Role of Shiga toxins in the pathogenesis of hemolytic uremic syndrome

Varrone, Elisa (2023) Role of Shiga toxins in the pathogenesis of hemolytic uremic syndrome, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Oncologia, ematologia e patologia, 35 Ciclo.
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During the pathogenesis of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a severe sequela of Shiga toxin (Stx)-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) gastrointestinal infections, before the toxin acts on the target endothelial cells of the kidney and brain, several Stx forms are transported in the bloodstream: free Stx; Stx bound to circulating cells through Gb3Cer and TLR4 receptors; and Stx associated to blood cell-derived microvesicles. The latter form is mainly responsible for the development of life-threatening HUS in 15% of STEC-infected patients. Stx consist of five B subunits non-covalently bound to a single A subunit (uncleaved Stx) which can be cleaved in two fragments (A1 and A2) held by a disulfide bond (cleaved Stx). After reduction, the enzymatically active A1 fragment responsible for toxicity is released. Cleaved and uncleaved Stx are biologically active but functionally different, thus their presence in patients’ blood could affect the onset of HUS. Currently, there are no effective therapies for the treatment of STEC-infected patients and the gold standard strategies available for the diagnosis are very expensive and time-consuming. In this thesis, by exploiting the resolving power of SERS technology (Amplified Raman Spectroscopy on Surfaces), a plasmonic biosensor was developed as effective diagnostic tool for early detection of Stx in patients’ sera. An acellular protein synthesis system for detecting cleaved Stx2a in human serum based on its greater translation inhibition after treatment with reducing agents was developed and used to identify cleaved Stx in STEC-infected patients’ sera. Pathogenic microvesicles from Stx2a-challenged blood from healthy donors were isolated and characterized. The antibiotic NAB815, acting as inhibitor of toxin binding to TLR4 expressed by circulating cells, was found to be effective in impairing the formation of blood cell-derived microvesicles containing Stx2a, also having a protective effect in cellular models. This approach could be proposed as an innovative treatment for HUS prevention.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Varrone, Elisa
Dottorato di ricerca
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
hemolytic uremic syndrome: HUS; Shiga toxins; Stx2; pathogenesis; diagnosis of STEC infection; cleaved form of shiga toxin; detection of cleaved Stx2 in sera; microvesicles; NAB815
Data di discussione
16 Giugno 2023

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