Viral infections facilitate bacterial trafficking to the lower respiratory tract resulting in bacterial-viral co-infections. Bacterial dissemination to the lower respiratory tract is enhanced by influenza A virus induced epithelial cell damage and dysregulation of immune responses. Epithelial cells act as the first line of defense and detect pathogens by a high variety of pattern recognition receptors. The post-translational modification ubiquitin is involved in almost every cellular process. Moreover, ubiquitination contributes to the regulation of host immune responses, influenza A virus uncoating and transport within host cells. We applied proteomics with a special focus on ubiquitination to assess the impact of single bacterial and viral as well as bacterial-viral co-infections on bronchial epithelial cells. We used Tandem Ubiquitin Binding Entities to enrich polyubiquitinated proteins and assess changes in the ubiquitinome. Infecting 16HBE cells with Streptococcus pyogenes led to an increased abundance of proteins related to mitochondrial translation and energy metabolism in proteome and ubiquitinome. In contrast, influenza A virus infection mainly altered the ubiquitinome. Co-infections had no additional impact on protein abundances or affected pathways. Changes in protein abundance and enriched pathways were assigned to imprints of both infecting pathogens. SIGNIFICANCE: Viral and bacterial co-infections of the lower respiratory tract are a burden for health systems worldwide. Therefore, it is necessary to elucidate the complex interplay between the host and the infecting pathogens. Thus, we analyzed the proteome and the ubiquitinome of co-infected bronchial epithelial cells to elaborate a potential synergism of the two infecting organisms. The results presented in this work can be used as a starting point for further analyses.
Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier B.V.