Autophagy 2009 Nov 26;5(8):1220-1. Epub 2009 Nov 26.
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, International Research Center for Infectious Diseases, Institute of Medical Science, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan.
Autophagy is a pivotal bulk degradation system that eliminates undesirable molecules, damaged organelles, and misfolded protein aggregates in response to diverse stimuli, including infection. Autophagy acts to limit intracellular microbial growth but intracellular pathogens have evolved strategies to subvert host autophagic responses for their survival. We found that Listeria monocytogenes ActA, a surface protein required for actin polymerization and actin-based bacterial motility, plays a pivotal role in evading autophagy, but in a manner independent of bacterial motility. We show that L. monocytogenes exploits the biomimetic property of ActA to camouflage itself with host proteins comprised of Ena/VASP and the Arp2/3 complex, thereby escaping recognition by autophagy (Fig. 1).