The immunomodulatory Pseudomonas aeruginosa signalling molecule N-(3-oxododecanoyl)-L-homoserine lactone enters mammalian cells in an unregulated fashion

Immunol Cell Biol. Nov-Dec 2007;85(8):596-602. doi: 10.1038/sj.icb.7100090. Epub 2007 Jul 3.


The Pseudomonas aeruginosa quorum-sensing signal molecule N-3-oxododecanoyl)-L-homoserine lactone (OdDHL) has been reported to affect the function of a wide range of mammalian cell types, including cells of the immune system. In T cells, it has been reported to inhibit the production of most cytokines, and it has been reported to inhibit the function of antigen-presenting cells. The intracellular target of OdDHL in these cells remains to be identified, although the lipophilic nature of the molecule suggested that the target could be membrane associated. We explored the association of radiolabelled OdDHL with the membrane and cytoplasm of Jurkat T-cell lines and of primary murine T cells and dendritic cells. We found that not only did 3H-OdDHL enter the cytoplasm of Jurkat cells without disproportionate association with the cell membrane, it also reached maximum levels in the cytoplasm very quickly, and that the intracellular concentration was proportional to the extracellular concentration. Similar results were obtained when 3H-OdDHL was incubated with primary murine T cells or cultured dendritic cells. In addition, we show that the cellular distribution of OdDHL does not significantly alter after stimulation of Jurkat cells or primary murine CD4 T cells with immobilized anti-CD3, with little activity being associated with nuclear fractions. Together, these data strongly suggest that OdDHL enters mammalian cells by passive mechanisms, and that it does not preferentially associate with the membrane or nucleus upon T-cell receptor ligation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 4-Butyrolactone / analogs & derivatives*
  • 4-Butyrolactone / immunology
  • 4-Butyrolactone / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Biological Transport
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis
  • Cytoplasm / metabolism
  • Homoserine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Homoserine / immunology
  • Homoserine / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Factors / immunology*
  • Immunologic Factors / pharmacology
  • Interferon-gamma / biosynthesis
  • Jurkat Cells
  • Lymphocyte Activation / immunology
  • Mice
  • Muromonab-CD3
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / immunology*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Spleen / cytology
  • Subcellular Fractions
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Tritium


  • Cytokines
  • Immunologic Factors
  • Muromonab-CD3
  • N-(3-oxododecanoyl)homoserine lactone
  • Tritium
  • Homoserine
  • Interferon-gamma
  • 4-Butyrolactone