Cryptococcus neoformans is a fungal pathogen that, after inhalation, can disseminate to the brain. Host alveolar macrophages (AMs) represent the first defense against the fungus. Once phagocytosed by AMs, fungal cells are killed by a concerted mechanism, involving the host-cellular response. If the cellular response is impaired, phagocytosis of the fungus may be detrimental for the host, since C. neoformans can grow within macrophages. Here, we identified a novel cryptococcal gene encoding antiphagocytic protein 1 (App1). App1 is a cryptococcal cytoplasmic protein that is secreted extracellularly and found in the serum of infected patients. App1 does not affect melanin production, capsule formation, or growth of C. neoformans. Treatment with recombinant App1 inhibited phagocytosis of fungal cells through a complement-mediated mechanism, and Δapp1 mutant is readily phagocytosed by AMs. Interestingly, the Δapp1 mutant strain showed a decreased virulence in mice deficient for complement C5 (A/Jcr), but it was hypervirulent in mice deficient for T and NK cells (Tgε26). This study identifies App1 as a novel regulator of virulence for C. neoformans, and it highlights that internalization of fungal cells by AMs increases the dissemination of C. neoformans when the host cellular response is impaired.
Chiara Luberto, Beatriz Martinez-Mariño, Daniel Taraskiewicz, Benjamin Bolaños, Pasquale Chitano, Dena L. Toffaletti, Gary M. Cox, John R. Perfect, Yusuf A. Hannun, Edward Balish, Maurizio Del Poeta
Bacillus anthracis lethal toxin (LT) is the major virulence factor of anthrax and reproduces most of the laboratory manifestations of the disease in animals. We studied LT toxicity in BALB/cJ and C57BL/6J mice. BALB/cJ mice became terminally ill earlier and with higher frequency than C57BL/6J mice. Timed histopathological analysis identified bone marrow, spleen, and liver as major affected organs in both mouse strains. LT induced extensive hypoxia. Crisis was due to extensive liver necrosis accompanied by pleural edema. There was no evidence of disseminated intravascular coagulation or renal dysfunction. Instead, analyses revealed hepatic dysfunction, hypoalbuminemia, and vascular/oxygenation insufficiency. Of 50 cytokines analyzed, BALB/cJ mice showed rapid but transitory increases in specific factors including KC, MCP-1/JE, IL-6, MIP-2, G-CSF, GM-CSF, eotaxin, FasL, and IL-1β. No changes in TNF-α occurred. The C57BL/6J mice did not mount a similar cytokine response. These factors were not induced in vitro by LT treatment of toxin-sensitive macrophages. The evidence presented shows that LT kills mice through a TNF-α–independent, FasL-independent, noninflammatory mechanism that involves hypoxic tissue injury but does not require macrophage sensitivity to toxin.
Mahtab Moayeri, Diana Haines, Howard A. Young, Stephen H. Leppla
Meningitis occurs when blood-borne pathogens cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB) in a complex interplay between endothelial cells and microbial gene products. We sought to understand the initial response of the BBB to the human meningeal pathogen group B Streptococcus (GBS) and the organism’s major virulence factors, the exopolysaccharide capsule and the β-hemolysin/cytolysin toxin (β-h/c). Using oligonucleotide microarrays, we found that GBS infection of human brain microvascular endothelial cells (HBMEC) induced a highly specific and coordinate set of genes including IL-8, Groα, Groβ, IL-6, GM-CSF, myeloid cell leukemia sequence-1 (Mcl-1), and ICAM-1, which act to orchestrate neutrophil recruitment, activation, and enhanced survival. Most strikingly, infection with a GBS strain lacking β-h/c resulted in a marked reduction in expression of genes involved in the immune response, while the unencapsulated strain generally induced similar or greater expression levels for the same subset of genes. Cell-free bacterial supernatants containing β-h/c activity induced IL-8 release, identifying this toxin as a principal provocative factor for BBB activation. These findings were further substantiated in vitro and in vivo. Neutrophil migration across polar HBMEC monolayers was stimulated by GBS and its β-h/c through a process involving IL-8 and ICAM-1. In a murine model of hematogenous meningitis, mice infected with β-h/c mutants exhibited lower mortality and decreased brain bacterial counts compared with mice infected with the corresponding WT GBS strains.
Kelly S. Doran, George Y. Liu, Victor Nizet
Serum anti–T cell receptor (TCR) Ab’s are involved in immune regulation directed against pathogenic T cells in experimental models of autoimmune diseases. Our identification of a dominant T cell population expressing the Vβ5.1 TCR gene (TCRBV5-1), which is responsible for the production of pathogenic anti-acetylcholine receptor (AChR) autoantibodies in HLA-DR3 patients with early-onset myasthenia gravis (EOMG), prompted us to explore the occurrence, reactivity, and regulatory role of anti-TCR Ab’s in EOMG patients and disease controls with clearly defined other autoantibodies. In the absence of prior vaccination against the TCR, EOMG patients had elevated anti-Vβ5.1 Ab’s of the IgG class. This increase was restricted largely to EOMG cases with HLA-DR3 and with less severe disease, and it predicted clinical improvement in follow-up studies. EOMG patient sera containing anti-TCR Ab’s bound specifically the native TCR on intact Vβ5.1-expressing cells and specifically inhibited the proliferation and IFN-γ production of purified Vβ5.1-expressing cells to alloantigens in mixed lymphocyte reaction and the proliferation of a Vβ5.1-expressing T cell clone to an AChR peptide, indicating a regulatory function for these Ab’s. This evidence of spontaneously active anti-Vβ5.1 Ab’s in EOMG patients suggests dynamic protective immune regulation directed against the excess of pathogenic Vβ5.1-expressing T cells. Though not sufficient to prevent a chronic, exacerbated autoimmune process, it might be boosted using a TCR peptide as vaccine.
Florence Jambou, Wei Zhang, Monique Menestrier, Isabelle Klingel-Schmitt, Olivier Michel, Sophie Caillat-Zucman, Abderrahim Aissaoui, Ludovic Landemarre, Sonia Berrih-Aknin, Sylvia Cohen-Kaminsky
The worldwide increase in the prevalence of multi-antibiotic–resistant bacteria has threatened the physician’s ability to provide appropriate therapy for infections. The relationship between antimicrobial drug concentration and infecting pathogen population reduction is of primary interest. Using data derived from mice infected with the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa and treated with a fluoroquinolone antibiotic, a mathematical model was developed that described relationships between antimicrobial drug exposures and changes in drug-susceptible and -resistant bacterial subpopulations at an infection site. Dosing regimens and consequent drug exposures that amplify or suppress the emergence of resistant bacterial subpopulations were identified and prospectively validated. Resistant clones selected in vivo by suboptimal regimens were characterized. No mutations were identified in the quinolone resistance–determining regions of gyrA/B or parC/E. However, all resistant clones demonstrated efflux pump overexpression. At base line, MexAB-OprM, MexCD-OprJ, and MexEF-OprN were represented in the drug-resistant population. After 28 hours of therapy, MexCD-OprJ became the predominant pump expressed in the resistant clones. The likelihood of achieving resistance-suppression exposure in humans with a clinically prescribed antibiotic dose was determined. The methods developed in this study provide insight regarding how mathematical models can be used to identify rational dosing regimens that suppress the amplification of the resistant mutant population.
Nelson Jumbe, Arnold Louie, Robert Leary, Weiguo Liu, Mark R. Deziel, Vincent H. Tam, Reetu Bachhawat, Christopher Freeman, James B. Kahn, Karen Bush, Michael N. Dudley, Michael H. Miller, George L. Drusano
Acute rheumatic fever is a serious autoimmune sequel of Streptococcus pyogenes infection. This study shows that serotype M3 and M18 S. pyogenes isolated during outbreaks of rheumatic fever have the unique capability to bind and aggregate human basement membrane collagen type IV. M3 protein is identified as collagen-binding factor of M3 streptococci, whereas M18 isolates bind collagen through a hyaluronic acid capsule, revealing a novel function for M3 protein and capsule. Following in vivo mouse passage, conversion of a nonencapsulated and collagen-binding negative M1 S. pyogenes into an encapsulated, collagen-binding strain further supports the crucial role of capsule in mediating collagen binding. Collagen binding represents a novel colonization mechanism, as it is demonstrated that S. pyogenes bind to collagen matrix in vitro and in vivo. Moreover, immunization of mice with purified recombinant M3 protein led to the generation of anti–collagen type IV antibodies. Finally, sera from acute rheumatic fever patients had significantly increased titers of anti–collagen type IV antibodies as compared with healthy controls. These findings may suggest a link between the potential of rheumatogenic S. pyogenes isolates to bind collagen, and the presence of collagen-reactive autoantibodies in the serum of rheumatic fever patients, which may form a basis for post-streptococcal rheumatic disease. These anti-collagen antibodies may form a basis for poststreptococcal rheumatic disease.
Katrin Dinkla, Manfred Rohde, Wouter T.M. Jansen, Edward L. Kaplan, Gursharan S. Chhatwal, Susanne R. Talay
We previously reported that laboratory reference strains of Chlamydia trachomatis differing in infection organotropism correlated with inactivating mutations in the pathogen’s tryptophan synthase (trpBA) genes. Here, we have applied functional genomics to extend this work and find that the paradigm established for reference serovars also applies to clinical isolates — specifically, all ocular trachoma isolates tested have inactivating mutations in the synthase, whereas all genital isolates encode a functional enzyme. Moreover, functional enzyme activity was directly correlated to IFN-γ resistance through an indole rescue mechanism. Hence, a strong selective pressure exists for genital strains to maintain a functional synthase capable of using indole for tryptophan biosynthesis. The fact that ocular serovars (serovar B) isolated from the genital tract were found to possess a functional synthase provided further persuasive evidence of this association. These results argue that there is an important host-parasite relationship between chlamydial genital strains and the human host that determines organotropism of infection and the pathophysiology of disease. We speculate that this relationship involves the production of indole by components of the vaginal microbial flora, allowing chlamydiae to escape IFN-γ–mediated eradication and thus establish persistent infection.
Harlan D. Caldwell, Heidi Wood, Debbie Crane, Robin Bailey, Robert B. Jones, David Mabey, Ian Maclean, Zeena Mohammed, Rosanna Peeling, Christine Roshick, Julius Schachter, Anthony W. Solomon, Walter E. Stamm, Robert J. Suchland, Lacey Taylor, Sheila K. West, Tom C. Quinn, Robert J. Belland, Grant McClarty
Enrique Lara-Pezzi, Maria Victoria Gómez-Gaviro, Beatriz G. Gálvez, Emilia Mira, Miguel A. Iñiguez, Manuel Fresno, Carlos Martínez-A., Alicia G. Arroyo, Manuel López-Cabrera
Stephanie L. Constant, Jennifer L. Brogdon, Damani A. Piggott, Christina A. Herrick, Irene Visintin, Nancy H. Ruddle, Kim Bottomly
Lawrence Y. Lee, Yuko J. Miyamoto, Bradley W. McIntyre, Magnus Höök, Kirk W. McCrea, Damien McDevitt, Eric L. Brown
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