Bacterial meningitis occurs when blood-borne pathogens invade and penetrate the blood-brain barrier (BBB) provoking inflammation and disease. Group B Streptococcus (GBS), the leading cause of neonatal meningitis, can enter human brain microvascular endothelial cells (hBMEC), but the host response to intracellular GBS has not been characterized. Here we sought to determine whether antibacterial autophagy, which involves selective recognition of intracellular organisms and their targeting to autophagosomes for degradation, is activated in BBB endothelium during bacterial infection. GBS infection resulted in increased punctate distribution of GFP-LC3, and increased levels of endogenous LC3-II and p62 turnover, two hallmark indicators of active autophagic flux. Infection with GBS mutants revealed that bacterial invasion and the GBS pore forming ?-hemolysin/cytolysin (?-h/c) trigger autophagic activation. Cell-free bacterial extracts containing ?-h/c activity induced LC3-II conversion, identifying this toxin as a principal provocative factor for autophagy activation. These results were confirmed in vivo using a mouse model of GBS meningitis, as infection with WT GBS induced autophagy in brain tissue more frequently than a ?-h/c deficient mutant. Elimination of autophagy using Atg5 deficient fibroblasts, or siRNA-mediated impairment of autophagy in hBMEC, led to increased recovery of intracellular GBS. However, electron microscopy revealed that GBS was rarely found within double membrane autophagic structures even though we observed GBS-LC3 co-localization. These results suggest that while autophagy may act as a BBB cellular defense mechanism in response to invading and toxin-producing bacteria, GBS may actively thwart the autophagic pathway.
Primate lentiviruses exhibit narrow host tropism, reducing the occurrence of zoonoses but also impairing the development of optimal animal models of AIDS. To delineate the factors limiting cross-species HIV-1 transmission, we passaged a modified HIV-1 in pigtailed macaques that were transiently depleted of CD8(+) cells during acute infection. During adaptation over four passages in macaques, HIV-1 acquired the ability to antagonize the macaque restriction factor tetherin, replicated at progressively higher levels, and ultimately caused marked CD4(+) T cell depletion and AIDS-defining conditions. Transient treatment with an antibody to CD8 during acute HIV-1 infection caused rapid progression to AIDS, whereas untreated animals exhibited an elite controller phenotype. Thus, an adapted HIV-1 can cause AIDS in macaques, and stark differences in outcome can be determined by immunological perturbations during early infection.
Infection of macaques with chimeric viruses based on SIVMAC but expressing the HIV-1 envelope (Env) glycoproteins (SHIVs) remains the most powerful model for evaluating prevention and therapeutic strategies against AIDS. Unfortunately, only a few SHIVs are currently available. Furthermore, their generation has required extensive adaptation of the HIV-1 Env sequences in macaques so they may not accurately represent HIV-1 Env proteins circulating in humans, potentially limiting their translational utility. We developed a strategy for generating large numbers of SHIV constructs expressing Env proteins from newly transmitted HIV-1 strains. By inoculating macaques with cocktails of multiple SHIV variants, we selected SHIVs that can replicate and cause AIDS-like disease in immunologically intact rhesus macaques without requiring animal-to-animal passage. One of these SHIVs could be transmitted mucosally. We demonstrate the utility of the SHIVs generated by this method for evaluating neutralizing antibody administration as a protection against mucosal SHIV challenge.
Understanding how quickly physiological traits evolve is a topic of great interest, particularly in the context of how organisms can adapt in response to climate warming. Adjustment to novel thermal habitats may occur either through behavioural adjustments, physiological adaptation or both. Here, we test whether rates of evolution differ among physiological traits in the cybotoids, a clade of tropical Anolis lizards distributed in markedly different thermal environments on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola. We find that cold tolerance evolves considerably faster than heat tolerance, a difference that results because behavioural thermoregulation more effectively shields these organisms from selection on upper than lower temperature tolerances. Specifically, because lizards in very different environments behaviourally thermoregulate during the day to similar body temperatures, divergent selection on body temperature and heat tolerance is precluded, whereas night-time temperatures can only be partially buffered by behaviour, thereby exposing organisms to selection on cold tolerance. We discuss how exposure to selection on physiology influences divergence among tropical organisms and its implications for adaptive evolutionary response to climate warming.
As cardiomyocytes mature, their sarcomeres and Z-band widths increase in length in order for their myofibrils to produce stronger twitch forces during a contraction. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that tensional homeostasis is affected by altering myofibril forces. To assess this hypothesis, neonatal rat cardiomyocytes were cultured on arrays of microposts to measure cellular contractility. An optical line scanning technique was used to measure the deflections in the microposts with high temporal resolution, enabling the analysis of twitch force, twitch velocity, and twitch power. Myofibril force production was elevated by vector-mediated overexpression of ribonucleotide reductase (RR) to increase cellular dATP content or by adding the inotropic agent EMD 57033 (EMD). We found that RR and EMD treatment did not affect cardiomyocyte twitch force, but it did lead to reduced twitch velocity and twitch power. Immunofluorescent analysis of ?-actinin revealed that RR-over-expressing cardiomyocytes and EMD-treated cardiomyocytes had lower spread area, sarcomere length, and Z-band width as compared to control cells. These results indicate a correlation between myofibril structure and cardiac power. This correlation was confirmed by exposing the cells to the myosin II inhibitor blebbistatin, and then subsequently washing it out. After wash-out, cardiomyocytes exhibited a reduction in twitch force, velocity, and power due to shorter sarcomere length and Z-band widths. Our results suggest that cardiac myofibril structure is regulated by tensional homeostasis. If myofibril-generated forces in cardiomyocytes are elevated, a state of tensional homeostasis is maintained by producing sufficient twitch forces with a lower degree myofibril structure.
During neonatal development, there is an increase in myocardial stiffness that coincides with an increase in the contractility of the heart. In vitro assays have shown that substrate stiffness plays a role in regulating the twitch forces produced by immature cardiomyocytes. However, its effect on twitch power is unclear due to difficulties in measuring the twitch velocity of cardiomyocytes. Here, we introduce what we consider a novel approach to quantify twitch power by combining the temporal resolution of optical line scanning with the subcellular force resolution of micropost arrays. Using this approach, twitch power was found to be greater for cells cultured on stiffer posts, despite having lower twitch velocities. The increased power was attributed in part to improved myofibril structure (increased sarcomere length and Z-band width) and intracellular calcium levels. Immunofluorescent staining of ?-actin revealed that cardiomyocytes had greater sarcomere length and Z-band width when cultured on stiffer arrays. Moreover, the concentration of intracellular calcium at rest and its rise with each twitch contraction was greater for cells on the stiffer posts. Altogether, these findings indicate that cardiomyocytes respond to substrate stiffness with biomechanical and biochemical changes that lead to an increase in cardiac contractility.
Early events in atherosclerosis occur in the aortic intima and involve monocytes that become macrophages. We looked for these cells in the steady state adult mouse aorta, and surprisingly, we found a dominance of dendritic cells (DCs) in the intima. In contrast to aortic adventitial macrophages, CD11c(+)MHC II(hi) DCs were poorly phagocytic but were immune stimulatory. DCs were of two types primarily: classical Flt3-Flt3L signaling-dependent, CD103(+)CD11b(-) DCs and macrophage-colony stimulating factor (M-CSF)-dependent, CD14(+)CD11b(+)DC-SIGN(+) monocyte-derived DCs. Both types expanded during atherosclerosis. By crossing Flt3(-/-) to Ldlr(-/-) atherosclerosis-prone mice, we developed a selective and marked deficiency of classical CD103(+) aortic DCs, and they were associated with exacerbated atherosclerosis without alterations in blood lipids. Concomitantly, the Flt3(-/-)Ldlr(-/-) mice had fewer Foxp3(+) Treg cells and increased inflammatory cytokine mRNAs in the aorta. Therefore, functional DCs are dominant in normal aortic intima and, in contrast to macrophages, CD103(+) classical DCs are associated with atherosclerosis protection.
Improved protein-based vaccines should facilitate the goal of effective vaccines against HIV and other pathogens. With respect to T cells, the efficiency of immunization, or "immunogenicity," is improved by targeting vaccine proteins to maturing dendritic cells (DCs) within mAbs to DC receptors. Here, we compared the capacity of Langerin/CD207, DEC205/CD205, and Clec9A receptors, each expressed on the CD8(+) DC subset in mice, to bring about immunization of microbial-specific T cells from the polyclonal repertoire, using HIV gag-p24 protein as an antigen. ?-Langerin mAb targeted splenic CD8(+) DCs selectively in vivo, whereas ?-DEC205 and ?-Clec9A mAbs targeted additional cell types. When the mAb heavy chains were engineered to express gag-p24, the ?-Langerin, ?-DEC205, and ?-Clec9A fusion mAbs given along with a maturation stimulus induced comparable levels of gag-specific T helper 1 (Th1) and CD8(+) T cells in BALB/c × C57BL/6 F1 mice. These immune T cells were more numerous than targeting the CD8(-) DC subset with ?-DCIR2-gag-p24. In an in vivo assay in which gag-primed T cells were used to report the early stages of T-cell responses, ?-Langerin, ?-DEC205, and ?-Clec9A also mediated cross-presentation to primed CD8(+) T cells if, in parallel to antigen uptake, the DCs were stimulated with ?-CD40. ?-Langerin, ?-DEC205, and ?-Clec9A targeting greatly enhanced T-cell immunization relative to nonbinding control mAb or nontargeted HIV gag-p24 protein. Therefore, when the appropriate subset of DCs is targeted with a vaccine protein, several different receptors expressed by that subset are able to initiate combined Th1 and CD8(+) immunity.
Dendritic cells (DCs), critical antigen-presenting cells for immune control, normally derive from bone marrow precursors distinct from monocytes. It is not yet established if the large reservoir of monocytes can develop into cells with critical features of DCs in vivo. We now show that fully differentiated monocyte-derived DCs (Mo-DCs) develop in mice and DC-SIGN/CD209a marks the cells. Mo-DCs are recruited from blood monocytes into lymph nodes by lipopolysaccharide and live or dead gram-negative bacteria. Mobilization requires TLR4 and its CD14 coreceptor and Trif. When tested for antigen-presenting function, Mo-DCs are as active as classical DCs, including cross-presentation of proteins and live gram-negative bacteria on MHC I in vivo. Fully differentiated Mo-DCs acquire DC morphology and localize to T cell areas via L-selectin and CCR7. Thus the blood monocyte reservoir becomes the dominant presenting cell in response to select microbes, yielding DC-SIGN(+) cells with critical functions of DCs.
DEC205/CD205, an endocytic receptor of C-type multilectin, is expressed highly in dendritic cells (DCs). DEC205 was shown to efficiently deliver vaccine antigens in surrogate ligands to the antigen processing and presentation machinery of DCs, which resulted in the development of DC-targeted vaccines employing anti-DC monoclonal antibodies (mAbs). During our studies to characterize a variety of anti-DC mAbs including anti-DEC205 by flow cytometric analysis, we discovered that a secondary anti-immunoglobulin antibody conjugated with PE-Cy5.5 bound strongly to the cells expressing mouse DEC205 (mDEC205) without incubation of a primary anti-mDEC205 mAb. In the present study we demonstrate that various antibodies and streptavidin conjugated with PE-Cy5.5 bind to the mDEC205-expressing cells including CHO, KIT6, and HEK293 cells. The interaction between the PE-Cy5.5 conjugates and the cells expressing mDEC205 appears distinctive, since none of the PE-Cy5.5 conjugates bind to the cells that express human DEC205 on surface. Besides, only PE-Cy5.5 conjugates bind strongly to mDEC205-expressing cells; PerCP-Cy5.5, APC-Cy5.5, and Cy5.5 conjugates bind weakly; PE, PE-Cy5, Cy5, FITC, or Alexa488 conjugates do not bind to mDEC205-expressing cells. Therefore the use of PE-Cy5.5 conjugates, widely utilized in multicolor flow cytometry, requires precaution against nonspecific binding to mDEC205-positive cells.
DEC205/CD205 is a C-type multilectin receptor, expressed highly in dendritic cells (DCs). Previous efforts to generate anti-human DEC205 (anti-hDEC205) monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) from mice immunized with subdomain proteins of hDEC205 resulted in a few mAbs. Recently, we expressed and utilized a full-length extracellular domain protein of hDEC205 to successfully generate 5 strong anti-hDEC205 mAbs from mice. In this study, DEC205 knockout (KO) mice were immunized with this full-length extracellular domain protein of hDEC205. One of the 3 immunized DEC205 KO mice was chosen for the highest anti-hDEC205 titer by flow cytometric analysis of serum samples on CHO cells stably expressing hDEC205 (CHO/hDEC205 cells) and used for hybridoma fusion. From a single fusion, more than 400 anti-hDEC205 hybridomas were identified by flow cytometric screen with CHO/hDEC205 cells, and a total of 115 hybridomas secreting strong anti-hDEC205 mAb were saved and named HD1 through HD115. To characterize in detail, 10 HD mAbs were chosen for superior anti-hDEC205 reactivity and further subjected to cloning and purification. Interestingly, out of those 10 chosen anti-hDEC205 HD mAbs, 5 mAbs were also strongly reactive to mouse DEC205 while 8 mAbs were found to stain DEC205(+) DCs on monkey spleen sections. In addition, we also identified that HD83, one of the 10 chosen HD mAbs, stains DEC205(+) DCs in rat spleen and lymph node. Therefore, by immunizing DEC205 KO mice with a full-length extracellular domain protein of hDEC205, we generated a large number of strong anti-hDEC205 mAbs many of which are cross-species reactive and able to visualize DEC205(+) DCs in lymphoid tissues of other mammals.
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