Supplementary Material for: Virulent <b><i>Francisella tularensis</i></b> Destabilize Host mRNA to Rapidly Suppress Inflammation

Highly virulent bacterial pathogens have evolved rapid means to suppress host inflammatory responses by unknown mechanisms. Here, we use virulent <i>Francisella tularensis</i>, the cause of lethal tularemia in humans, as a model to elucidate these mechanisms. We show that following infection of murine macrophages <i>F. tularensis</i> rapidly and selectively destabilizes mRNA containing adenylate-uridylate-rich elements that encode for cytokines and chemokines important in controlling bacterial infection. Degradation of host mRNA encoding interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6 and CXCL1 did not require viable bacteria or de novo protein synthesis, but did require escape of intracellular organisms from endocytic vesicles into the host cytosol. The specific targeting of host mRNA encoding inflammatory cytokines and chemokines for decay by a bacterial pathogen has not been previously reported. Thus, our findings represent a novel strategy by which a highly virulent pathogen modulates host inflammatory responses critical to the evasion of innate immunity.