The Bacteroides fragilis enterotoxin (BFT), a virulence factor of enterotoxigenic B. fragilis (ETBF), interacts with intestinal epithelial cells and can provoke signals that induce mucosal inflammation. Although expression of heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) is associated with regulation of inflammatory responses, little is known about HO-1 induction in ETBF infection. This study was conducted to investigate the effect of BFT on HO-1 expression in intestinal epithelial cells. Stimulation of intestinal epithelial cells with BFT resulted in upregulated expression of HO-1. BFT activated transcription factors such as NF-κB, AP-1, and Nrf2 in intestinal epithelial cells. Upregulation of HO-1 in intestinal epithelial cells was dependent on activated IκB kinase (IKK)- NF-κB signals. However, suppression of Nrf2 or AP-1 signals in intestinal epithelial cells did not result in significant attenuation of BFT-induced HO-1 expression. HO-1 induction via IKK-NF-κB in intestinal epithelial cells was regulated by p38 mitogenactivated protein kinases (MAPKs). Furthermore, suppression of HO-1 activity led to increased apoptosis in BFT-stimulated epithelial cells. These results suggest that a signaling pathway involving p38 MAPK-IKK-NF-κB in intestinal epithelial cells is required for HO-1 induction during exposure to BFT. Following this induction, increased HO-1 expression may regulate the apoptotic process in responses to BFT stimulation.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (NRF- 2015R1D1A1A01058565) and by a grant from the Medical Research Center (2008-0062287), funded by the NRF of the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, Republic of Korea. None of the authors of this study has any financial or commercial conflicts of interest.
© 2016, American Society for Microbiology.