Cell stress markers during development of hemolytic uremic syndrome and acute kidney injury
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Enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) infections are a leading cause of foodborne illness in the United States. Shiga-like toxins are produced that can cause hemorrhagic colitis and can lead to dangerous complications, such as acute kidney injury and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). There are currently no specific treatments for HUS, and therefore more research into EHEC and HUS needs to be done. Our study focuses on Shiga-like toxin induction of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress in in vitro and in vivo systems, using human monocyte-like THP-1 cells and a non-human primate model of HUS. We used qPCR to determine the levels of ER stress marker expression induced by both Shiga-like toxin 1 (Stx1) and Shiga-like toxin 2 (Stx2) challenges. We also looked at ER stress marker expression in non-human primates that survived a lethal Stx2 challenge after being given a Stx2 binding tetravalent peptide. We expected to see increased ER stress marker expression in THP-1 cells challenged with both Shiga-like toxins and in animals that received lethal doses of the toxins. Although results were inconclusive for THP-1 cell experiments, our preliminary non-human primate data suggest that the timing of ER stress marker production is important, and Shiga-like toxins may suppress the unfolded protein response (UPR) in some baboon tissues. We also show that the therapeutic peptide TVP may reverse this UPR suppression and relieve ER stress leading to animal survival. Our study, along with the current literature, shows that Shiga-like toxin induced ER stress is a promising area for future study.