West Nile virus (WNV) causes asymptomatic infection in most humans, but for undefined reasons, approximately 20% of immunocompetent individuals develop West Nile fever, a potentially debilitating febrile illness, and approximately 1% develop neuroinvasive disease syndromes. Notably, since its emergence in 1999, WNV has become the leading cause of epidemic viral encephalitis in North America. We hypothesized that CD4+ Tregs might be differentially regulated in subjects with symptomatic compared with those with asymptomatic WNV infection. Here, we show that in 32 blood donors with acute WNV infection, Tregs expanded significantly in the 3 months after index (RNA+) donations in all subjects. Symptomatic donors exhibited lower Treg frequencies from 2 weeks through 1 year after index donation yet did not show differences in systemic T cell or generalized inflammatory responses. In parallel prospective experimental studies, symptomatic WNV-infected mice also developed lower Treg frequencies compared with asymptomatic mice at 2 weeks after infection. Moreover, Treg-deficient mice developed lethal WNV infection at a higher rate than controls. Together, these results suggest that higher levels of peripheral Tregs after infection protect against severe WNV disease in immunocompetent animals and humans.
Marion C. Lanteri, Katie M. O’Brien, Whitney E. Purtha, Mark J. Cameron, Jennifer M. Lund, Rachel E. Owen, John W. Heitman, Brian Custer, Dale F. Hirschkorn, Leslie H. Tobler, Nancy Kiely, Harry E. Prince, Lishomwa C. Ndhlovu, Douglas F. Nixon, Hany T. Kamel, David J. Kelvin, Michael P. Busch, Alexander Y. Rudensky, Michael S. Diamond, Philip J. Norris
IL-17 and IL-22 have been shown to increase protection against certain bacteria and fungal pathogens in experimental models. However, no human studies have demonstrated a crucial role of IL-17 and IL-22 in protection against infections. We show here that Leishmania donovani, which can cause the lethal visceral disease Kala Azar (KA), stimulates the differentiation of Th17 cells, which produce IL-17, IL-22, and IFN-γ. Analysis of Th1, Th2, and Th17 cytokine responses by cultured PBMCs from individuals in a cohort of subjects who developed KA or were protected against KA during a severe outbreak showed that IL-17 and IL-22 were strongly and independently associated with protection against KA. Our results suggest that, along with Th1 cytokines, IL-17 and IL-22 play complementary roles in human protection against KA, and that a defect in Th17 induction may increase the risk of KA.
Maira G.R. Pitta, Audrey Romano, Sandrine Cabantous, Sandrine Henri, Awad Hammad, Bouréma Kouriba, Laurent Argiro, Musa el Kheir, Bruno Bucheton, Charles Mary, Sayda Hassan El-Safi, Alain Dessein
The activation of type I IFN signaling is a major component of host defense against viral infection, but it is not typically associated with immune responses to extracellular bacterial pathogens. Using mouse and human airway epithelial cells, we have demonstrated that Staphylococcus aureus activates type I IFN signaling, which contributes to its virulence as a respiratory pathogen. This response was dependent on the expression of protein A and, more specifically, the Xr domain, a short sequence–repeat region encoded by DNA that consists of repeated 24-bp sequences that are the basis of an internationally used epidemiological typing scheme. Protein A was endocytosed by airway epithelial cells and subsequently induced IFN-β expression, JAK-STAT signaling, and IL-6 production. Mice lacking IFN-α/β receptor 1 (IFNAR-deficient mice), which are incapable of responding to type I IFNs, were substantially protected against lethal S. aureus pneumonia compared with wild-type control mice. The profound immunological consequences of IFN-β signaling, particularly in the lung, may help to explain the conservation of multiple copies of the Xr domain of protein A in S. aureus strains and the importance of protein A as a virulence factor in the pathogenesis of staphylococcal pneumonia.
Francis J. Martin, Marisa I. Gomez, Dawn M. Wetzel, Guido Memmi, Maghnus O’Seaghdha, Grace Soong, Christian Schindler, Alice Prince
Microbial colonization of mucosal surfaces may be an initial event in the progression to disease, and it is often a transient process. For the extracellular pathogen Streptococcus pneumoniae studied in a mouse model, nasopharyngeal carriage is eliminated over a period of weeks and requires cellular rather than humoral immunity. Here, we demonstrate that primary infection led to TLR2-dependent recruitment of monocyte/macrophages into the upper airway lumen, where they engulfed pneumococci. Pharmacologic depletion of luminal monocyte/macrophages by intranasal instillation of liposomal clodronate diminished pneumococcal clearance. Efficient clearance of colonization required TLR2 signaling to generate a population of pneumococcal-specific IL-17–expressing CD4+ T cells. Depletion of either IL-17A or CD4+ T cells was sufficient to block the recruitment of monocyte/macrophages that allowed for effective late pneumococcal clearance. In contrast with naive mice, previously colonized mice showed enhanced early clearance that correlated with a more robust influx of luminal neutrophils. As for primary colonization, these cellular responses required Th17 immunity. Our findings demonstrate that monocyte/macrophages and neutrophils recruited to the mucosal surface are key effectors in clearing primary and secondary bacterial colonization, respectively.
Zhe Zhang, Thomas B. Clarke, Jeffrey N. Weiser
Influenza-related complications continue to be a major cause of mortality worldwide. Due to unclear mechanisms, a substantial number of influenza-related deaths result from bacterial superinfections, particularly secondary pneumococcal pneumonia. Here, we report what we believe to be a novel mechanism by which influenza-induced type I IFNs sensitize hosts to secondary bacterial infections. Influenza-infected mice deficient for type I IFN-α/β receptor signaling (Ifnar–/– mice) had improved survival and clearance of secondary Streptococcus pneumoniae infection from the lungs and blood, as compared with similarly infected wild-type animals. The less effective response in wild-type mice seemed to be attributable to impaired production of neutrophil chemoattractants KC (also known as Cxcl1) and Mip2 (also known as Cxcl2) following secondary challenge with S. pneumoniae. This resulted in inadequate neutrophil responses during the early phase of host defense against secondary bacterial infection. Indeed, influenza-infected wild-type mice cleared secondary pneumococcal pneumonia after pulmonary administration of exogenous KC and Mip2, whereas neutralization of Cxcr2, the common receptor for KC and Mip2, reversed the protective phenotype observed in Ifnar–/– mice. These data may underscore the importance of the type I IFN inhibitory pathway on CXC chemokine production. Collectively, these findings highlight what we believe to be a novel mechanism by which the antiviral response to influenza sensitizes hosts to secondary bacterial pneumonia.
Arash Shahangian, Edward K. Chow, Xiaoli Tian, Jason R. Kang, Amir Ghaffari, Su Y. Liu, John A. Belperio, Genhong Cheng, Jane C. Deng
A diverse array of infectious agents, including prions and certain neurotropic viruses, bind to the laminin receptor (LR), and this determines tropism to the CNS. Bacterial meningitis in childhood is almost exclusively caused by the respiratory tract pathogens Streptococcus pneumoniae, Neisseria meningitidis, and Haemophilus influenzae, but the mechanism by which they initiate contact with the vascular endothelium of the blood brain barrier (BBB) is unknown. We hypothesized that an interaction with LR might underlie their CNS tropism. Using affinity chromatography, coimmunoprecipitation, retagging, and in vivo imaging approaches, we identified 37/67-kDa LR as a common receptor for all 3 bacteria on the surface of rodent and human brain microvascular endothelial cells. Mutagenesis studies indicated that the corresponding bacterial LR-binding adhesins were pneumococcal CbpA, meningococcal PilQ and PorA, and OmpP2 of H. influenzae. The results of competitive binding experiments suggest that a common adhesin recognition site is present in the carboxyl terminus of LR. Together, these findings suggest that disruption or modulation of the interaction of bacterial adhesins with LR might engender unexpectedly broad protection against bacterial meningitis and may provide a therapeutic target for the prevention and treatment of disease.
Carlos J. Orihuela, Jafar Mahdavi, Justin Thornton, Beth Mann, Karl G. Wooldridge, Noha Abouseada, Neil J. Oldfield, Tim Self, Dlawer A.A. Ala’Aldeen, Elaine I. Tuomanen
Chronic infections are associated with progressively declining T cell function. Infections with helminth parasites, such as Schistosoma mansoni, are often chronic and characterized by the development of strong Th2 responses that peak during the acute stage of infection and then decline despite ongoing infection; this minimizes Th2-dependent immunopathology during the chronic stage of infection. We sought to understand the basis for the decline in Th2 responses in chronic schistosomiasis. Using IL-4 reporter mice (mice that express EGFP as a reporter for Il4 gene expression) to identify Th2 cells, we found that Th2 cell numbers plateaued during acute infection and remained constant thereafter. However, the percentages of Th2 cells proliferating during late infection were strikingly lower than those during acute infection. Th2 cell hyporesponsiveness was evident within 10 d of initiation of the Th2 response and became progressively ingrained thereafter, in response to repeated Ag stimulation. Gene expression analyses implicated the E3-ubiquitin ligase gene related to anergy in lymphocytes (GRAIL) in the hyporesponsive state. Consistent with this, suppression of GRAIL expression using retrovirally delivered siRNA prevented the development of hyporesponsiveness induced by repeated Ag stimulation in vitro or in vivo. Together, these data indicate that the decline in Th2 cell responsiveness during chronic schistosomiasis is the net result of the upregulation of GRAIL expression in response to repeated Ag stimulation.
Justin J. Taylor, Connie M. Krawczyk, Markus Mohrs, Edward J. Pearce
TLR9 activation is important for the maintenance of mycobacteria-elicited pulmonary granulomatous responses, hallmarks of protective immune responses following mycobacterial infection. However, the mechanism or mechanisms underlying this effect of TLR9 are not clear. Here, we show that Tlr9-deficient mice challenged with a Mycobacterium antigen display an altered Th17 cytokine profile, decreased accumulation of granuloma-associated myeloid DCs, and profoundly impaired delta-like 4 (dll4) Notch ligand expression. Mechanistic analysis revealed that WT bone marrow–derived DCs but not macrophages promoted the differentiation of Th17 cells from bacillus Calmette-Guérin–challenged (BCG-challenged) lung CD4+ T cells. Both lung and bone marrow DCs isolated from Tlr9-deficient mice inoculated with Mycobacterium antigen expressed lower levels of dll4 Notch ligand than the same cells isolated from WT mice. Passively immunizing WT mice with neutralizing antibodies specific for dll4 during granuloma formation resulted in larger granulomas and lower levels of Th17-related cytokines. In addition, dll4 specifically regulated Th17 activation in vitro. Together, these results suggest dll4 plays an important role in promoting Th17 effector activity during a mycobacterial challenge. Furthermore, TLR9 seems to be required for optimal dll4 expression and the regulation of Mycobacterium antigen–elicited granuloma formation in mice.
Toshihiro Ito, Matthew Schaller, Cory M. Hogaboam, Theodore J. Standiford, Matyas Sandor, Nicholas W. Lukacs, Stephen W. Chensue, Steven L. Kunkel
Pseudomonas aeruginosa uses quorum sensing, an interbacterial communication system, to regulate gene expression. The signaling molecule N-3-oxododecanoyl homoserine lactone (3OC12-HSL) is thought to play a central role in quorum sensing. Since 3OC12-HSL can be degraded by paraoxonase (PON) family members, we hypothesized that PONs regulate P. aeruginosa virulence in vivo. We chose Drosophila melanogaster as our model organism because it has been shown to be a tractable model for investigating host-pathogen interactions and lacks PONs. By using quorum-sensing–deficient P. aeruginosa, synthetic acyl-HSLs, and transgenic expression of human PON1, we investigated the role of 3OC12-HSL and PON1 on P. aeruginosa virulence. We found that P. aeruginosa virulence in flies was dependent upon 3OC12-HSL. PON1 transgenic flies expressed enzymatically active PON1 and thereby exhibited arylesterase activity and resistance to organophosphate toxicity. Moreover, PON1 flies were protected from P. aeruginosa lethality, and protection was dependent on the lactonase activity of PON1. Our findings show that PON1 can interfere with quorum sensing in vivo and provide insight into what we believe is a novel role for PON1 in the innate immune response to quorum-sensing–dependent pathogens. These results raise intriguing possibilities about human-pathogen interactions, including potential roles for PON1 as a modifier gene and for PON1 protein as a regulator of normal bacterial florae, a link between infection/inflammation and cardiovascular disease, and a potential therapeutic modality.
David A. Stoltz, Egon A. Ozer, Peter J. Taft, Marilyn Barry, Lei Liu, Peter J. Kiss, Thomas O. Moninger, Matthew R. Parsek, Joseph Zabner
HIV infiltrates the CNS soon after an individual has become infected with the virus, and can cause dementia and encephalitis in late-stage disease. Here, a global metabolomics approach was used to find and identify metabolites differentially regulated in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of rhesus macaques with SIV-induced CNS disease, as we hypothesized that this might provide biomarkers of virus-induced CNS damage. The screening platform used a non-targeted, mass-based metabolomics approach beginning with capillary reverse phase chromatography and electrospray ionization with accurate mass determination, followed by novel, nonlinear data alignment and online database screening to identify metabolites. CSF was compared before and after viral infection. Significant changes in the metabolome specific to SIV-induced encephalitis were observed. Metabolites that were increased during infection-induced encephalitis included carnitine, acyl-carnitines, fatty acids, and phospholipid molecules. The elevation in free fatty acids and lysophospholipids correlated with increased expression of specific phospholipases in the brains of animals with encephalitis. One of these, a phospholipase A2 isoenzyme, is capable of releasing a number of the fatty acids identified. It was expressed in different areas of the brain in conjunction with glial activation, rather than linked to regions of SIV infection and inflammation, indicating widespread alterations in infected brains. The identification of specific metabolites as well as mechanisms of their increase illustrates the potential of mass-based metabolomics to address problems in CNS biochemistry and neurovirology, as well as neurodegenerative diseases.
William R. Wikoff, Gurudutt Pendyala, Gary Siuzdak, Howard S. Fox
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