Intracellular pathogens commonly reside within macrophages to find shelter from humoral defenses, but host cell death can expose them to the extracellular milieu. We find intracellular pathogens solve this dilemma by using virulence factors to generate a complement-dependent find-me signal that initiates uptake by a new phagocyte through efferocytosis. During macrophage death, Salmonella uses a type III secretion system to perforate the membrane of the pathogen-containing vacuole (PCV), thereby triggering complement deposition on bacteria entrapped in pore-induced intracellular traps (PITs). In turn, complement activation signals neutrophil efferocytosis, a process that shelters intracellular bacteria from the respiratory burst. Similarly, Brucella employs its type IV secretion system to perforate the PCV membrane, which induces complement deposition on bacteria entrapped in PITs. Collectively, this work identifies virulence factor-induced perforation of the PCV as a strategy of intracellular pathogens to generate a find-me signal for efferocytosis.
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