Immune evasion by Salmonella: exploiting the VPAC1/VIP axis in human monocytes

Basim Askar, John Higgins, Paul Barrow, Neil Foster*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Immune evasion is a critical survival mechanism for bacterial colonization of deeper tissues and may lead to life-threatening conditions such as endotoxaemia and sepsis. Understanding these immune evasion pathways would be an important step for the development of novel anti-microbial therapeutics. Here, we report a hitherto unknown mechanism by which Salmonella exploits an anti-inflammatory pathway in human immune cells to obtain survival advantage. We show that Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium strain 4/74 significantly (P < 0·05) increased expression of mRNA and surface protein of the type 1 receptor (VPAC1) for anti-inflammatory vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) in human monocytes. However, we also show that S. Typhimurium induced retrograde recycling of VPAC1 from early endosomes to Rab11a-containing sorting endosomes, associated with the Golgi apparatus, and anterograde trafficking via Rab3a and calmodulin 1. Expression of Rab3a and calmodulin 1 were significantly increased by S. Typhimurium infection and W-7 (calmodulin antagonist) decreased VPAC1 expression on the cell membrane while CALP-1 (calmodulin agonist) increased VPAC1 expression (P < 0·05). When infected monocytes were co-cultured with VIP, a significantly higher number of S. Typhimurium were recovered from these monocytes, compared with S. Typhimurium recovered from monocytes cultured only in cell media. We conclude that S. Typhimurium infection exploits host VPAC1/VIP to gain survival advantage in human monocytes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)230-239
Number of pages10
Issue number3
Early online date13 Aug 2019
Publication statusPrint publication - Nov 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • calmodulin
  • immune evasion
  • Rab
  • Salmonella
  • vasoactive intestinal peptide


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