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Coxiella burnetii Subversion of Host Nrf2 Antioxidant Signaling- Resubmission

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Coxiella burnetii is the intracellular bacterial agent of human Q fever, an acute flu-like illness that can present as potentially fatal chronic endocarditis. Mechanisms used by C. burnetii to parasitize human macrophages remain a mystery. However, through the use of other cell models, studies have demonstrated that C. burnetii regulates numerous host processes, including vesicular trafficking and apoptosis. The current proposal is designed to define mechanisms used by C. burnetii to avoid the oxidative stress response of human alveolar macrophages, which are the pathogen?s target cell in vivo. We found that C. burnetii triggers activation of the cargo receptor p62 and potentially uses this versatile protein to activate the antioxidant transcription factor Nrf2. Aim 1 is designed to define the mechanism by which p62 activates Nrf2. Aim 2 will define the downstream impact of Nrf2 activation on C. burnetii prevention of the oxidative stress response and apoptosis. Throughout the proposal, we will use our primary human alveolar macrophage model of infection to identify disease relevant processes. Collectively, the aims in the current proposal will provide needed insight into the mechanisms used by C. burnetii to parasitize human macrophages, which is a prerequisite for progression of Q fever.

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