Cystic fibrosis (CF) is characterized by chronic bacterial infections leading to progressive bronchiectasis and respiratory failure. Pseudomonas aeruginosa (Pa) is the predominant opportunistic pathogen infecting the CF airways. The guanine nucleotide exchange factor Vav3 plays a critical role in Pa adhesion to the CF airways by inducing luminal fibronectin deposition that favors bacteria trapping. Here we report that Vav3 overexpression in CF is caused by upregulation of the mRNA-stabilizing protein HuR. We found that HuR accumulates in the cytoplasm of CF airway epithelial cells and that it binds to and stabilizes Vav3 mRNA. Interestingly, disruption of the HuR-Vav3 mRNA interaction improved the CF epithelial integrity, inhibited the formation of the fibronectin-made bacterial docking platforms, and prevented Pa adhesion to the CF airway epithelium. These findings indicate that targeting HuR represents a promising antiadhesive approach in CF that can prevent initial stages of Pa infection in a context of emergence of multidrug-resistant pathogens.
Mehdi Badaoui, Cyril Sobolewski, Alexandre Luscher, Marc Bacchetta, Thilo Köhler, Christian van Delden, Michelangelo Foti, Marc Chanson