Chitin is an essential structural polysaccharide of fungal pathogens and parasites, but its role in human immune responses remains largely unknown. It is the second most abundant polysaccharide in nature after cellulose and its derivatives today are widely used for medical and industrial purposes. We analysed the immunological properties of purified chitin particles derived from the opportunistic human fungal pathogen Candida albicans, which led to the selective secretion of the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10. We identified NOD2, TLR9 and the mannose receptor as essential fungal chitin-recognition receptors for the induction of this response. Chitin reduced LPS-induced inflammation in vivo and may therefore contribute to the resolution of the immune response once the pathogen has been defeated. Fungal chitin also induced eosinophilia in vivo, underpinning its ability to induce asthma. Polymorphisms in the identified chitin receptors, NOD2 and TLR9, predispose individuals to inflammatory conditions and dysregulated expression of chitinases and chitinase-like binding proteins, whose activity is essential to generate IL-10-inducing fungal chitin particles in vitro, have also been linked to inflammatory conditions and asthma. Chitin recognition is therefore critical for immune homeostasis and is likely to have a significant role in infectious and allergic disease.
Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a T cell-mediated inflammatory skin disease, with TH2 cells initiating acute flares. This inflamed skin is immediately colonized with Staphylococcus aureus, which provides potent Toll-like receptor (TLR) 2 ligands. However, the effect of TLR2 ligands on the development of TH2-mediated AD inflammation remains unclear.
Erythrocytes may enter eryptosis, a suicidal death characterized by cell shrinkage and phosphatidylserine exposure at the erythrocyte outer membrane. Susceptibility to eryptosis is enhanced in aged erythrocytes and stimulated by NF?B-inhibitors Bay 11-7082 and parthenolide. Here we explored whether expression of NF?B and susceptibility to inhibitor-induced eryptosis is sensitive to erythrocyte age.
Virulence of emerging community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) and other highly pathogenic S. aureus strains depends on their production of phenol-soluble modulin (PSM) peptide toxins, which combine the capacities to attract and lyse neutrophils. The molecular basis of PSM-stimulated neutrophil recruitment has remained unclear. Here, we demonstrate that the human formyl peptide receptor 2 (FPR2/ALX), which has previously been implicated in control of endogenous inflammatory processes, senses PSMs at nanomolar concentrations and initiates proinflammatory neutrophil responses to CA-MRSA. Specific blocking of FPR2/ALX or deletion of PSM genes in CA-MRSA severely diminished neutrophil detection of CA-MRSA. Furthermore, a specific inhibitor of FPR2/ALX and of its functional mouse counterpart blocked PSM-mediated leukocyte infiltration in vivo in a mouse model. Thus, the innate immune system uses a distinct FPR2/ALX-dependent mechanism to specifically sense bacterial peptide toxins and detect highly virulent bacterial pathogens. FPR2/ALX represents an attractive target for new anti-infective or anti-inflammatory strategies.
CD4(+) T cells are essential for the control of Yersinia enterocolitica (Ye) infection in mice. Ye can inhibit dendritic cell (DC) antigen uptake and degradation, maturation and subsequently T-cell activation in vitro. Here we investigated the effects of Ye infection on splenic DCs and T-cell proliferation in an experimental mouse infection model. We found that OVA-specific CD4(+) T cells had a reduced potential to proliferate when stimulated with OVA after infection with Ye compared to control mice. Additionally, proliferation of OVA-specific CD4(+) T cells was markedly reduced when cultured with splenic CD8?(+) DCs from Ye infected mice in the presence of OVA. In contrast, T-cell proliferation was not impaired in cultures with CD4(+) or CD4(-)CD8?(-) DCs isolated from Ye infected mice. However, OVA uptake and degradation as well as cytokine production were impaired in CD8?(+) DCs, but not in CD4(+) and CD4(-)CD8?(-) DCs after Ye infection. Pathogenicity factors (Yops) from Ye were most frequently injected into CD8?(+) DCs, resulting in less MHC class II and CD86 expression than on non-injected CD8?(+) DCs. Three days post infection with Ye the number of splenic CD8?(+) and CD4(+) DCs was reduced by 50% and 90%, respectively. The decreased number of DC subsets, which was dependent on TLR4 and TRIF signaling, was the result of a faster proliferation and suppressed de novo DC generation. Together, we show that Ye infection negatively regulates the stimulatory capacity of some but not all splenic DC subpopulations in vivo. This leads to differential antigen uptake and degradation, cytokine production, cell loss, and cell death rates in various DC subpopulations. The data suggest that these effects might be caused directly by injection of Yops into DCs and indirectly by affecting the homeostasis of CD4(+) and CD8?(+) DCs. These events may contribute to reduced T-cell proliferation and immune evasion of Ye.
Yersinia enterocolitica (Ye) evades the immune system of the host by injection of Yersinia outer proteins (Yops) via a type three secretion system into host cells. In this study, a reporter system comprising a YopE-beta-lactamase hybrid protein and a fluorescent staining sensitive to beta-lactamase cleavage was used to track Yop injection in cell culture and in an experimental Ye mouse infection model. Experiments with GD25, GD25-beta1A, and HeLa cells demonstrated that beta1-integrins and RhoGTPases play a role for Yop injection. As demonstrated by infection of splenocyte suspensions in vitro, injection of Yops appears to occur randomly into all types of leukocytes. In contrast, upon infection of mice, Yop injection was detected in 13% of F4/80(+), 11% of CD11c(+), 7% of CD49b(+), 5% of Gr1(+) cells, 2.3% of CD19(+), and 2.6% of CD3(+) cells. Taking the different abundance of these cell types in the spleen into account, the highest total number of Yop-injected cells represents B cells, particularly CD19(+)CD21(+)CD23(+) follicular B cells, followed by neutrophils, dendritic cells, and macrophages, suggesting a distinct cellular tropism of Ye. Yop-injected B cells displayed a significantly increased expression of CD69 compared to non-Yop-injected B cells, indicating activation of these cells by Ye. Infection of IFN-gammaR (receptor)- and TNFRp55-deficient mice resulted in increased numbers of Yop-injected spleen cells for yet unknown reasons. The YopE-beta-lactamase hybrid protein reporter system provides new insights into the modulation of host cell and immune responses by Ye Yops.
Sideromycins are antibiotics covalently linked to siderophores. They are actively transported into gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. Energy-coupled transport across the outer membrane and the cytoplasmic membrane strongly increases their antibiotic efficiency; their minimal inhibitory concentration is at least 100-fold lower than that of antibiotics that enter cells by diffusion. This is particularly relevant for gram-negative bacteria because the outer membrane, which usually forms a permeability barrier, in this case actively contributes to the uptake of sideromycins. Sideromycin-resistant mutants can be used to identify siderophore transport systems since the mutations are usually in transport genes. Two sideromycins, albomycin and salmycin, are discussed here. Albomycin, a derivative of ferrichrome with a bound thioribosyl-pyrimidine moiety, inhibts seryl-t-RNA synthetase. Salmycin, a ferrioxamine derivative with a bound aminodisaccharide, presumably inhibts protein synthesis. Crystal structures of albomycin bound to the outer membrane transporter FhuA and the periplasmic binding protein FhuD have been determined. Albomycin and salmycin have been used to characterize the transport systems of Escherichia coli and Streptococcus pneumoniae and of Staphylococcus aureus, respectively. The in vivo efficacy of albomycin and salmycin has been examined in a mouse model using Yersinia enterocolitica, S. pneumoniae, and S. aureus infections. Albomycin is effective in clearing infections, whereas salmycin is too unstable to lead to a large reduction in bacterial numbers. The recovery rate of albomycin-resistant mutants is lower than that of the wild-type, which suggests a reduced fitness of the mutants. Albomycin could be a useful antibiotic provided sufficient quantities can be isolated from streptomycetes or synthesized chemically.
The expansive use of immunosuppressive medications in fields such as transplantational medicine and oncology, the higher frequency of invasive procedures in an ageing population and the HIV/AIDS pandemic have increased the frequency of systemic fungal infections. At the same time, increased resistance of pathogenic fungi to classical antifungal agents has led to sustained research efforts targeting alternative antifungal strategies. In this review, we focus on two promising approaches: cationic peptides and the targeting of fungal virulence factors. Cationic peptides are small, predominantly positively charged protein fragments that exert direct and indirect antifungal activities, one mechanism of action being the permeabilization of the fungal membrane. They include lysozyme, defensins and cathelicidins as well as novel synthetic peptides. Among fungal virulence factors, the targeting of candidal secreted aspartic proteinases seems to be a particularly promising approach.
Glucocorticoid induced-leucine zipper (GILZ) has been shown to be induced in cells by different stimuli such as glucocorticoids, IL-10 or deprivation of IL-2. GILZ has anti-inflammatory properties and may be involved in signalling modulating apoptosis. Herein we demonstrate that wildtype Yersinia enterocolitica which carry the pYV plasmid upregulated GILZ mRNA levels and protein expression in epithelial cells. Infection of HeLa cells with different Yersinia mutant strains revealed that the protease activity of YopT, which cleaves the membrane-bound form of Rho GTPases was sufficient to induce GILZ expression. Similarly, Clostridium difficile toxin B, another bacterial inhibitor of Rho GTPases induced GILZ expression. YopT and toxin B both increased transcriptional activity of the GILZ promoter in HeLa cells. GILZ expression could not be linked to the inactivation of an individual Rho GTPase by these toxins. However, forced expression of RhoA and RhoB decreased basal GILZ promoter activity. Furthermore, MAPK activation proved necessary for profound GILZ induction by toxin B. Promoter studies and gel shift analyses defined binding of upstream stimulatory factor (USF) 1 and 2 to a canonical c-Myc binding site (E-box) in the GILZ promoter as a crucial step of its trans-activation. In addition we could show that USF-1 and USF-2 are essential for basal as well as toxin B induced GILZ expression. These findings define a novel way of GILZ promoter trans-activation mediated by bacterial toxins and differentiate it from those mediated by dexamethasone or deprivation of IL-2.
Mast cells (MC) are key mediators of the immune system, most prominently known for their role in eliciting harmful allergic reactions. Mast cell mediator release (e.g. by degranulation) is triggered by Fc?RI recognition of antigen - IgE complexes. Until today no therapeutic targeting of this and other mast cell activation pathways is established. Among possible new candidates there are tetraspanins that have been described on MC already several years ago. Tetraspanins are transmembrane proteins acting as scaffolds, mediating local clustering of their interaction partners, and thus amplify their activities. More recently, tetraspanins were also found to exert intrinsic receptor functions. Tetraspanins have been found to be crucial components of fundamental biological processes like cell motility and adhesion. In immune cells, they not only boost the effectiveness of antigen presentation by clustering MHC molecules, they are also key players in all kinds of degranulation events and immune receptor clustering. This review focuses on the contribution of tetraspanins clustered with Fc?RI or residing in granule membranes to classical MC functions but also undertakes an outlook on the possible contribution of tetraspanins to newly described mast cell functions and discusses possible targets for drug development.
Mature, circulating erythrocytes undergo senescence, which limits their life span to approximately 120 d. Upon injury, erythrocytes may undergo suicidal erythrocyte death or eryptosis, which may accelerate senescence and shorten their survival. Eryptosis is defined as cell shrinkage and exposure of phosphatidylserine at the cell surface. Triggers of eryptosis include oxidative stress. The present study addresses the impact of erythrocyte age on the relative susceptibility to eryptosis. Erythrocytes were separated into five fractions, based on age-associated differences in density and volume. Cell membrane scrambling was estimated from binding of annexin V to phosphatidylserine at the erythrocyte surface, the cell volume from forward scatter, and the Ca(2+) level from Fluo-3-dependent fluorescence. In addition, glutathione (GSH) concentrations were measured by an enzymatic/colourimetric method. After 48 h incubation in Ringer solution, Annexin V binding increased significantly with erythrocyte age. The differences were not accompanied by altered GSH concentrations, but were reversed by addition of the antioxidant N-acetyl-L-cysteine in vitro. Also, N-acetyl-L-cysteine significantly prolonged the half-life of circulating mouse erythrocytes in vivo. Thus, the susceptibility to eryptosis increases with the age of the erythrocytes, and this effect is at least partially due to enhanced sensitivity to oxidative stress.
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