Food poisoning is one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in the world. Citrobacter rodentium is an enteric pathogen which attaches itself to enterocytes and induces attachment and effacing (A/E) lesions. The ability of the bacterium to cause infection requires subversion of the host actin cytoskeleton. Rac-dependent actin polymerization is activated by a guanine nucleotide exchange factor known as Dedicator of cytokinesis 2 (DOCK2). However, the role of DOCK2 in infectious disease is largely unexplored. Here, we found that mice lacking DOCK2 were susceptible to C. rodentium infection. These mice harbored increased levels of C. rodentium bacteria, showed more pronounced weight loss and inflammation-associated pathology, and were prone to bacterial dissemination to the systemic organs compared with wild-type mice. We found that mice lacking DOCK2 were more susceptible to C. rodentium attachment to intestinal epithelial cells. Therefore, our results underscored an important role of DOCK2 for gastrointestinal immunity to C. rodentium infection.
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