Macrophages deploy numerous strategies to combat invasion by microbes. One tactic is to restrict acquisition of diverse nutrients, including trace metals, a process termed nutritional immunity. Intracellular pathogens adapt to a resource-poor environment by marshaling mechanisms to harvest nutrients. Carbon acquisition is crucial for pathogen survival; compounds that reduce availability are a potential strategy to control intracellular replication. Treatment of macrophages with the glucose analog 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG) armed phagocytes to eliminate the intracellular fungal pathogen Histoplasma capsulatum in vitro and in vivo. Killing did not rely on altering access to carbon-containing molecules or changes in ATP, ER stress, or autophagy. Unexpectedly, 2-DG undermined import of exogenous zinc into macrophages, decreasing the quantity of cytosolic and phagosomal zinc. The fungus perished as a result of zinc starvation. This change in metal ingress was not ascribed to a defect in a single importer; rather, there was a collective impairment in transporter activity. This effect promoted the antifungal machinery of macrophages and expanded the complexity of 2-DG activities far beyond manipulating glycolysis. Mechanistic metabolic studies employing 2-DG will have to consider its effect on zinc transport. Our preclinical data support consideration of this agent as a possible adjunctive therapy for histoplasmosis.
Diego C.P. Rossi, Julio A. Landero Figueroa, William R. Buesing, Kathleen Candor, Logan T. Blancett, Heather M. Evans, Rena Lenchitz, Bradford L. Crowther III, Waleed Elsegeiny, Peter R. Williamson, Jan Rupp, George S. Deepe Jr.