Shigella flexneri, the etiological agent of bacillary dysentery, invades the human colonic epithelium and causes its massive inflammatory destruction. Little is known about the post-translational modifications implicated in regulating the host defense pathway against Shigella. Here, we show that SUMO-2 impairs Shigella invasion of epithelial cells in vitro. Using mice haploinsufficient for the SUMO E2 enzyme, we found that sumoylation regulates intestinal permeability and is required to restrict epithelial invasion and control mucosal inflammation. Quantitative proteomics reveals that Shigella infection alters the sumoylation status of a restricted set of transcriptional regulators involved in intestinal functions and inflammation. Consistent with this, sumoylation restricts the pro-inflammatory transcriptional response of Shigella-infected guts. Altogether, our results show that the SUMO pathway is an essential component of host innate protection, as it reduces the efficiency of two key steps of shigellosis: invasion and inflammatory destruction of the intestinal epithelium.
- Shigella flexneri