To subvert host immunity, influenza A virus (IAV) induces early apoptosis in innate immune cells by disrupting mitochondria membrane potential via its polymerase basic protein 1-frame 2 (PB1-F2) accessory protein. Whether immune cells have mechanisms to counteract PB1-F2-mediated apoptosis is currently unknown. Herein, we define that the host mitochondrial protein nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain-like receptor (NLR)X1 binds to viral protein PB1-F2, preventing IAV-induced macrophage apoptosis and promoting both macrophage survival and type I IFN signaling. We initially observed that Nlrx1-deficient mice infected with IAV exhibited increased pulmonary viral replication, as well as enhanced inflammatory-associated pulmonary dysfunction and morbidity. Analysis of the lungs of IAV-infected mice revealed markedly enhanced leukocyte recruitment but impaired production of type I IFN in Nlrx1(-/-) mice. Impaired type I IFN production and enhanced viral replication was recapitulated in Nlrx1(-/-) macrophages and was associated with increased mitochondrial mediated apoptosis. Through gain- and loss-of-function strategies for protein interaction, we identified that NLRX1 directly bound PB1-F2 in the mitochondria of macrophages. Using a recombinant virus lacking PB1-F2, we confirmed that deletion of PB1-F2 abrogated NLRX1-dependent macrophage type I IFN production and apoptosis. Thus, our results demonstrate that NLRX1 acts as a mitochondrial sentinel protecting macrophages from PB1-F2-induced apoptosis and preserving their antiviral function. We further propose that NLRX1 is critical for macrophage immunity against IAV infection by sensing the extent of viral replication and maintaining a protective balance between antiviral immunity and excessive inflammation within the lungs.
Aspirin gained tremendous popularity during the 1918 Spanish Influenza virus pandemic, 50 years prior to the demonstration of their inhibitory action on prostaglandins. Here, we show that during influenza A virus (IAV) infection, prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) was upregulated, which led to the inhibition of type I interferon (IFN) production and apoptosis in macrophages, thereby causing an increase in virus replication. This inhibitory role of PGE2 was not limited to innate immunity, because both antigen presentation and T cell mediated immunity were also suppressed. Targeted PGE2 suppression via genetic ablation of microsomal prostaglandin E-synthase 1 (mPGES-1) or by the pharmacological inhibition of PGE2 receptors EP2 and EP4 substantially improved survival against lethal IAV infection whereas PGE2 administration reversed this phenotype. These data demonstrate that the mPGES-1-PGE2 pathway is targeted by IAV to evade host type I IFN-dependent antiviral immunity. We propose that specific inhibition of PGE2 signaling might serve as a treatment for IAV.
CD8(+) T cells undergo rapid expansion during infection with intracellular pathogens, which is followed by swift and massive culling of primed CD8(+) T cells. The mechanisms that govern the massive contraction and maintenance of primed CD8(+) T cells are not clear. We show in this study that the transcription factor, FoxO3a, does not influence Ag presentation and the consequent expansion of CD8(+) T cell response during Listeria monocytogenes infection, but plays a key role in the maintenance of memory CD8(+) T cells. The effector function of primed CD8(+) T cells as revealed by cytokine secretion and CD107a degranulation was not influenced by inactivation of FoxO3a. Interestingly, FoxO3a-deficient CD8(+) T cells displayed reduced expression of proapoptotic molecules BIM and PUMA during the various phases of response, and underwent reduced apoptosis in comparison with wild-type cells. A higher number of memory precursor effector cells and memory subsets was detectable in FoxO3a-deficient mice compared with wild-type mice. Furthermore, FoxO3a-deficient memory CD8(+) T cells upon transfer into normal or RAG1-deficient mice displayed enhanced survival. These results suggest that FoxO3a acts in a cell-intrinsic manner to regulate the survival of primed CD8(+) T cells.
The murine model of T. cruzi infection has provided compelling evidence that development of host resistance against intracellular protozoans critically depends on the activation of members of the Toll-like receptor (TLR) family via the MyD88 adaptor molecule. However, the possibility that TLR/MyD88 signaling pathways also control the induction of immunoprotective CD8+ T cell-mediated effector functions has not been investigated to date. We addressed this question by measuring the frequencies of IFN-gamma secreting CD8+ T cells specific for H-2K(b)-restricted immunodominant peptides as well as the in vivo Ag-specific cytotoxic response in infected animals that are deficient either in TLR2, TLR4, TLR9 or MyD88 signaling pathways. Strikingly, we found that T. cruzi-infected Tlr2(-/-), Tlr4(-/-), Tlr9(-/) (-) or Myd88(-/-) mice generated both specific cytotoxic responses and IFN-gamma secreting CD8+ T cells at levels comparable to WT mice, although the frequency of IFN-gamma+CD4+ cells was diminished in infected Myd88(-/-) mice. We also analyzed the efficiency of TLR4-driven immune responses against T. cruzi using TLR4-deficient mice on the C57BL genetic background (B6 and B10). Our studies demonstrated that TLR4 signaling is required for optimal production of IFN-gamma, TNF-alpha and nitric oxide (NO) in the spleen of infected animals and, as a consequence, Tlr4(-/-) mice display higher parasitemia levels. Collectively, our results indicate that TLR4, as well as previously shown for TLR2, TLR9 and MyD88, contributes to the innate immune response and, consequently, resistance in the acute phase of infection, although each of these pathways is not individually essential for the generation of class I-restricted responses against T. cruzi.
Immunisation with Amastigote Surface Protein 2 (asp-2) and trans-sialidase (ts) genes induces protective immunity in highly susceptible A/Sn mice, against infection with parasites of the Y strain of Trypanosoma cruzi. Based on immunological and biological strain variations in T. cruzi parasites, our goal was to validate our vaccination results using different parasite strains. Due to the importance of the CD8(+) T cells in protective immunity, we initially determined which strains expressed the immunodominant H-2K(k)-restricted epitope TEWETGQI. We tested eight strains, four of which elicited immune responses to this epitope (Y, G, Colombian and Colombia). We selected the Colombian and Colombia strains for our studies. A/Sn mice were immunised with different regimens using both T. cruzi genes (asp-2 and ts) simultaneously and subsequently challenged with blood trypomastigotes. Immune responses before the challenge were confirmed by the presence of specific antibodies and peptide-specific T cells. Genetic vaccination did not confer protective immunity against acute infection with a lethal dose of the Colombian strain. In contrast, we observed a drastic reduction in parasitemia and a significant increase in survival, following challenge with an otherwise lethal dose of the Colombia strain. In many surviving animals with late-stage chronic infection, we observed alterations in the hearts electrical conductivity, compared to naive mice. In summary, we concluded that immunity against T. cruzi antigens, similar to viruses and bacteria, may be strain-specific and have a negative impact on vaccine development.
Vaccines have had an unquestionable impact on public health during the last century. The most likely reason for the success of vaccines is the robust protective properties of specific antibodies. However, antibodies exert a strong selective pressure and many microorganisms, such as the obligatory intracellular parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, have been selected to survive in their presence. Although the host develops a strong immune response to T. cruzi, they do not clear the infection and instead progress to the chronic phase of the disease. Parasite persistence during the chronic phase of infection is now considered the main factor contributing to the chronic symptoms of the disease. Based on this finding, containment of parasite growth and survival may be one method to avoid the immunopathology of the chronic phase. In this context, vaccinologists have looked over the past 20 years for other immune effector mechanisms that could eliminate these antibody-resistant pathogens. We and others have tested the hypothesis that non-antibody-mediated cellular immune responses (CD4+ Th1 and CD8+ Tc1 cells) to specific parasite antigens/genes expressed by T. cruzi could indeed be used for the purpose of vaccination. This hypothesis was confirmed in different mouse models, indicating a possible path for vaccine development.
Ischemia reperfusion injury (IRI) is a potential contributor for the development of chronic allograft nephropathy. T cells are important mediators of injury, even in the absence of alloantigens. We performed a depletion of TCD4(+)CTLA4(+)Foxp3(+) cells with anti-CD25(PC61), a treatment with anti-GITR (DTA-1) and rat-IgG, followed by 45 min of ischemia and 24/72 h of reperfusion, and then analyzed blood urea, kidney histopathology and gene expression in kidneys by QReal Time PCR. After 24 h of reperfusion, depletion of TCD4(+)CTLA4(+)Foxp3(+) cells reached 30.3%(spleen) and 67.8%(lymph nodes). 72 h after reperfusion depletion reached 43.1%(spleen) and 90.22%(lymph nodes) and depleted animals presented with significantly poorer renal function, while DTA-1(anti-GITR)-treated ones showed a significant protection, all compared to serum urea from control group (IgG: 150.10+/-50.04; PC61: 187.23+/-31.38; DTA-1: 64.53+/-25.65, mg/dL, p<0.05). These data were corroborated by histopathology. We observed an increase of HO-1 expression in animals treated with DTA-1 at 72 h of reperfusion with significant differences. Thus, our results suggest that PC61(anti-CD25) mAb treatment is deleterious, while DTA-1(anti-GITR) mAb treatment presents a protective role in the renal IRI, indicating that some regulatory populations of T cells might have a role in IRI.
Pathogens that reside in the phagosomes of infected cells persist despite the presence of potent T cell responses. We addressed the mechanism of immune evasion by using a mouse model of Salmonella typhimurium (ST). Recombinants of ST were generated that translocated antigen to the cytosol or phagosomes of infected cells. We find that the kinetics of antigen presentation and CD8(+) T cell priming is accelerated by cytosolic antigen delivery, although the magnitude of CD8(+) T cell response is not influenced by antigenic location. More importantly, only those targets that readily display antigen on the cell surface, owing to antigenic translocation to the cytosol, are recognized and killed by CD8(+) T cells. Thus, vaccination approaches developed to control phagosomal pathogens should incorporate methods for modulating antigen presentation such that infected target cells can be readily recognized by CD8(+) T cells.
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