Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI) accounts for a substantial proportion of deaths attributable to antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the United States. Although C. difficile can be an asymptomatic colonizer, its pathogenic potential is most commonly manifested in patients with antibiotic-modified intestinal microbiomes. In a cohort of 186 hospitalized patients, we showed that host and microbe-associated shifts in fecal metabolomes had the potential to distinguish patients with CDI from those with non–C. difficile diarrhea and C. difficile colonization. Patients with CDI exhibited a chemical signature of Stickland amino acid fermentation that was distinct from those of uncolonized controls. This signature suggested that C. difficile preferentially catabolizes branched chain amino acids during CDI. Unexpectedly, we also identified a series of noncanonical, unsaturated bile acids that were depleted in patients with CDI. These bile acids may derive from an extended host-microbiome dehydroxylation network in uninfected patients. Bile acid composition and leucine fermentation defined a prototype metabolomic model with potential to distinguish clinical CDI from asymptomatic C. difficile colonization.
John I. Robinson, William H. Weir, Jan R. Crowley, Tiffany Hink, Kimberly A. Reske, Jennie H. Kwon, Carey-Ann D. Burnham, Erik R. Dubberke, Peter J. Mucha, Jeffrey P. Henderson
This study investigates the relationship between helminth infection and allergic sensitization by assessing the influence of preexisting allergy on the outcome of helminth infections, rather than the more traditional approach in which the helminth infection precedes the onset of allergy. Here we used a murine model of house dust mite–induced (HDM-induced) allergic inflammation followed by Ascaris infection to demonstrate that allergic sensitization drives an eosinophil-rich pulmonary type 2 immune response (Th2 cells, M2 macrophages, type 2 innate lymphoid cells, IL-33, IL-4, IL-13, and mucus) that directly hinders larval development and reduces markedly the parasite burden in the lungs. This effect is dependent on the presence of eosinophils, as eosinophil-deficient mice were unable to limit parasite development or numbers. In vivo administration of neutralizing antibodies against CD4 prior to HDM sensitization significantly reduced eosinophils in the lungs, resulting in the reversal of the HDM-induced Ascaris larval killing. Our data suggest that HDM allergic sensitization drives a response that mimics a primary Ascaris infection, such that CD4+ Th2-mediated eosinophil-dependent helminth larval killing in the lung tissue occurs. This study provides insight into the mechanisms underlying tissue-specific responses that drive a protective response against the early stages of the helminths prior to their establishing long-lasting infections in the host.
Pedro H. Gazzinelli-Guimaraes, Rafael de Queiroz Prado, Alessandra Ricciardi, Sandra Bonne-Année, Joshua Sciurba, Erik P. Karmele, Ricardo T. Fujiwara, Thomas B. Nutman
Streptococcus pneumoniae (Spn) is a common cause of respiratory infection, but also frequently colonizes the nasopharynx in the absence of disease. We used mass cytometry to study immune cells from nasal biopsy samples collected following experimental human pneumococcal challenge in order to identify immunological mechanisms of control of Spn colonization. Using 37 markers, we characterized 293 nasal immune cell clusters, of which 7 were associated with Spn colonization. B cell and CD8+CD161+ T cell clusters were significantly lower in colonized than in non-colonized subjects. By following a second cohort before and after pneumococcal challenge we observed that B cells were depleted from the nasal mucosa upon Spn colonization. This associated with an expansion of Spn polysaccharide-specific and total plasmablasts in blood. Moreover, increased responses of blood mucosal associated invariant T (MAIT) cells against in vitro stimulation with pneumococcus prior to challenge associated with protection against establishment of Spn colonization and with increased mucosal MAIT cell populations. These results implicate MAIT cells in the protection against pneumococcal colonization and demonstrate that colonization affects mucosal and circulating B cell populations.
Simon P. Jochems, Karin de Ruiter, Carla Solórzano, Astrid Voskamp, Elena Mitsi, Elissavet Nikolaou, Beatriz F. Carniel, Sherin Pojar, Esther L. German, Jesús Reiné, Alessandra Soares-Schanoski, Helen Hill, Rachel Robinson, Angela D. Hyder-Wright, Caroline M. Weight, Pascal F. Durrenberger, Robert S. Heyderman, Stephen B. Gordon, Hermelijn H. Smits, Britta C. Urban, Jamie Rylance, Andrea M. Collins, Mark D. Wilkie, Lepa Lazarova, Samuel C. Leong, Maria Yazdanbakhsh, Daniela M. Ferreira
Type 1 IFNs (IFN-I) generally protect mammalian hosts from virus infections, but in some cases, IFN-I is pathogenic. Because IFN-I is protective, it is commonly used to treat virus infections for which no specific approved drug or vaccine is available. The Middle East respiratory syndrome–coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is such an infection, yet little is known about the role of IFN-I in this setting. Here, we show that IFN-I signaling is protective during MERS-CoV infection. Blocking IFN-I signaling resulted in delayed virus clearance, enhanced neutrophil infiltration, and impaired MERS-CoV–specific T cell responses. Notably, IFN-I administration within 1 day after infection (before virus titers peak) protected mice from lethal infection, despite a decrease in IFN-stimulated gene (ISG) and inflammatory cytokine gene expression. In contrast, delayed IFN-β treatment failed to effectively inhibit virus replication, increased infiltration and activation of monocytes, macrophages, and neutrophils in the lungs, and enhanced proinflammatory cytokine expression, resulting in fatal pneumonia in an otherwise sublethal infection. Together, these results suggest that the relative timing of the IFN-I response and maximal virus replication is key in determining outcomes, at least in infected mice. By extension, IFN-αβ or combination therapy may need to be used cautiously to treat viral infections in clinical settings.
Rudragouda Channappanavar, Anthony R. Fehr, Jian Zheng, Christine Wohlford-Lenane, Juan E. Abrahante, Matthias Mack, Ramakrishna Sompallae, Paul B. McCray Jr., David K. Meyerholz, Stanley Perlman
Dengue virus (DENV) infection causes a characteristic pathology in humans involving dysregulation of the vascular system. In some patients with dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF), vascular pathology can become severe, resulting in extensive microvascular permeability and plasma leakage into tissues and organs. Mast cells (MCs), which line blood vessels and regulate vascular function, are able to detect DENV in vivo and promote vascular leakage. Here, we identified that a MC-derived protease, tryptase, is consequential for promoting vascular permeability during DENV infection, through inducing breakdown of endothelial cell tight junctions. Injected tryptase alone was sufficient to induce plasma loss from the circulation and hypovolemic shock in animals. A potent tryptase inhibitor, nafamostat mesylate, blocked DENV-induced vascular leakage in vivo. Importantly, in two independent human dengue cohorts, tryptase levels correlated with the grade of DHF severity. This study defines an immune mechanism by which DENV can induce vascular pathology and shock.
Abhay P.S. Rathore, Chinmay Kumar Mantri, Siti A.B. Aman, Ayesa Syenina, Justin Ooi, Cyril J. Jagaraj, Chi Ching Goh, Hasitha Tissera, Annelies Wilder-Smith, Lai Guan Ng, Duane J. Gubler, Ashley L. St. John
Invasive fungal infection is a serious health threat with high morbidity and mortality. Current antifungal drugs only demonstrate partial success in improving prognosis. Furthermore, mechanisms regulating host defense against fungal pathogens remain elusive. Here, we report that the downstream of kinase 3 (Dok3) adaptor negatively regulates antifungal immunity in neutrophils. Our data revealed that Dok3 deficiency increased phagocytosis, proinflammatory cytokine production, and netosis in neutrophils, thereby enhancing mutant mouse survival against systemic infection with a lethal dose of the pathogenic fungus Candida albicans. Biochemically, Dok3 recruited protein phosphatase 1 (PP1) to dephosphorylate Card9, an essential player in innate antifungal defense, to dampen downstream NF-κB and JNK activation and immune responses. Thus, Dok3 suppresses Card9 signaling, and disrupting Dok3-Card9 interaction or inhibiting PP1 activity represents therapeutic opportunities to develop drugs to combat candidaemia.
Jia Tong Loh, Shengli Xu, Jian Xin Huo, Susana Soo-Yeon Kim, Yue Wang, Kong-Peng Lam
Diabetic individuals are at considerable risk for invasive infection by Staphylococcus aureus, however, the mechanisms underlying this enhanced susceptibility to infection are unclear. We observed increased mortality following i.v. S. aureus infection in diabetic mice compared with nondiabetic controls, correlating with increased numbers of low-density neutrophils (LDNs) and neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs). LDNs have been implicated in the inflammatory pathology of diseases such as lupus, given their release of large amounts of NETs. Our goal was to describe what drives LDN increases during S. aureus infection in the diabetic host and mechanisms that promote increased NET production by LDNs. LDN development is dependent on TGF-β, which we found to be more activated in the diabetic host. Neutralization of TGF-β, or the TGF-β–activating integrin αvβ8, reduced LDN numbers and improved survival during S. aureus infection. Targeting S. aureus directly with MEDI4893*, an α toxin–neutralizing monoclonal antibody, blocked TGF-β activation, reduced LDNs and NETs, and significantly improved survival. A comparison of gene and protein expression in high-density neutrophils and LDNs identified increased GPCRs and elevated phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) in the LDN subset. Inhibition of PTEN improved the survival of infected diabetic mice. Our data identify a population of neutrophils in infected diabetic mice that correlated with decreased survival and increased NET production and describe 3 therapeutic targets, a bacterial target and 2 host proteins, that prevented NET production and improved survival.
Taylor S. Cohen, Virginia Takahashi, Jessica Bonnell, Andrey Tovchigrechko, Raghothama Chaerkady, Wen Yu, Omari Jones-Nelson, Young Lee, Rajiv Raja, Sonja Hess, C. Kendall Stover, John J. Worthington, Mark A. Travis, Bret R. Sellman
IL-26 is an antimicrobial protein secreted by Th17 cells that has the ability to directly kill extracellular bacteria. To ascertain whether IL-26 contributes to host defense against intracellular bacteria, we studied leprosy, caused by the obligate intracellular pathogen Mycobacterium leprae, as a model. Analysis of leprosy skin lesions by gene expression profiling and immunohistology revealed that IL-26 was more strongly expressed in lesions from the self-limited tuberculoid compared with expression in progressive lepromatous patients. IL-26 directly bound to M. leprae in axenic culture and reduced bacteria viability. Furthermore, IL-26, when added to human monocyte–derived macrophages infected with M. leprae, entered the infected cell, colocalized with the bacterium, and reduced bacteria viability. In addition, IL-26 induced autophagy via the cytoplasmic DNA receptor stimulator of IFN genes (STING), as well as fusion of phagosomes containing bacilli with lysosomal compartments. Altogether, our data suggest that the Th17 cytokine IL-26 contributes to host defense against intracellular bacteria.
Angeline Tilly Dang, Rosane M.B. Teles, David I. Weiss, Kislay Parvatiyar, Euzenir N. Sarno, Maria T. Ochoa, Genhong Cheng, Michel Gilliet, Barry R. Bloom, Robert L. Modlin
Accumulating evidence demonstrates that CD8+ T cells contribute to protection from severe dengue virus (DENV) disease and vaccine efficacy. Nevertheless, molecular programs associated with DENV-specific CD8+ T cell subsets have not been defined. Here, we studied the transcriptomic profiles of human DENV-specific CD8+ T cells isolated after stimulation with DENV epitopes from donors who had been infected with DENV multiple times and would therefore be expected to have significant levels of adaptive immunity. We found that DENV-specific CD8+ T cells mainly consisted of effector memory subsets, namely CD45RA−CCR7− effector memory (Tem) and CD45RA+CCR7− effector memory re-expressing CD45RA (Temra) cells, which enacted specific gene expression profiles upon stimulation with cognate antigens. DENV-specific CD8+ T cell subsets in general, and Temra cells in particular, were fully activated and polyfunctional, yet associated with relatively narrow transcriptional responses. Furthermore, we found that DENV-specific CD8+ Tem and Temra cells showed some unique T cell receptor features in terms of overlap and variable (V) gene usage. This study provides a transcriptomic definition of DENV-specific activated human CD8+ T cell subsets and defines a benchmark profile that vaccine-specific responses could aim to reproduce.
Yuan Tian, Mariana Babor, Jerome Lane, Grégory Seumois, Shu Liang, N.D. Suraj Goonawardhana, Aruna D. De Silva, Elizabeth J. Phillips, Simon A. Mallal, Ricardo da Silva Antunes, Alba Grifoni, Pandurangan Vijayanand, Daniela Weiskopf, Bjoern Peters, Alessandro Sette
BACKGROUND. Cryptococcal meningitis (CM) causes an estimated 180,000 deaths annually, predominantly in sub-Saharan Africa, where most patients receive fluconazole (FLC) monotherapy. While relapse after FLC monotherapy with resistant strains is frequently observed, the mechanisms and impact of emergence of FLC resistance in human CM are poorly understood. Heteroresistance (HetR) — a resistant subpopulation within a susceptible strain — is a recently described phenomenon in Cryptococcus neoformans (Cn) and Cryptococcus gattii (Cg), the significance of which has not previously been studied in humans. METHODS. A cohort of 20 patients with HIV-associated CM in Tanzania was prospectively observed during therapy with either FLC monotherapy or in combination with flucytosine (5FC). Total and resistant subpopulations of Cryptococcus spp. were quantified directly from patient cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Stored isolates underwent whole genome sequencing and phenotypic characterization. RESULTS. Heteroresistance was detectable in Cryptococcus spp. in the CSF of all patients at baseline (i.e., prior to initiation of therapy). During FLC monotherapy, the proportion of resistant colonies in the CSF increased during the first 2 weeks of treatment. In contrast, no resistant subpopulation was detectable in CSF by day 14 in those receiving a combination of FLC and 5FC. Genomic analysis revealed high rates of aneuploidy in heteroresistant colonies as well as in relapse isolates, with chromosome 1 (Chr1) disomy predominating. This is apparently due to the presence on Chr1 of ERG11, which is the FLC drug target, and AFR1, which encodes a drug efflux pump. In vitro efflux levels positively correlated with the level of heteroresistance. CONCLUSION. Our findings demonstrate for what we believe is the first time the presence and emergence of aneuploidy-driven FLC heteroresistance in human CM, association of efflux levels with heteroresistance, and the successful suppression of heteroresistance with 5FC/FLC combination therapy. FUNDING. This work was supported by the Wellcome Trust Strategic Award for Medical Mycology and Fungal Immunology 097377/Z/11/Z and the Daniel Turnberg Travel Fellowship.
Neil R.H. Stone, Johanna Rhodes, Matthew C. Fisher, Sayoki Mfinanga, Sokoine Kivuyo, Joan Rugemalila, Ella Shtifman Segal, Leor Needleman, Síle F. Molloy, June Kwon-Chung, Thomas S. Harrison, William Hope, Judith Berman, Tihana Bicanic
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