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Bacterial heat shock protein GroEL (Hsp64) exerts immunoregulatory effects on T cells by utilizing apoptosis
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Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans (Aa) expresses a 64-kDa GroEL protein belonging to the heat shock family of proteins. This protein has been shown to influence human host cells, but the apoptotic capacity of the GroEL protein regarding T cells is not yet known. The purpose of this study was to investigate the ability of A. actinomycetemcomitans GroEL (AaGroEL) protein to induce human peripheral blood T-cell apoptosis. Endogenous, purified AaGroEL protein was used as an antigen. In AaGroEL-treated T cells, the data indicated that phosphatidylserine exposure, an early apoptotic event, was dose- and time-dependent. The AaGroEL-treated T cells were also positive for active caspase-3 in a dose-dependent manner. The rate of AaGroEL-induced apoptosis was suppressed by the addition of the general caspase inhibitor Z-VAD-FMK. Furthermore, cleaved caspase-8 bands (40/36 kDa and 23 kDa) were identified in cells responding to AaGroEL. DNA fragmentation was also detected in the AaGroEL-treated T cells. Overall, we demonstrated that the endogenous GroEL from A. actinomycetemcomitans has the capacity to induce T-cell apoptosis. © 2016 Nalbant, Kant. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.