Human fungal infections have been on the rise in recent years and proved increasingly difficult to treat as a result of the lack of diagnostics, effective antifungal therapies, and vaccines. Most pathogenic fungi do not cause disease unless there is a disturbance in immune homeostasis, which can be caused by modern medical interventions, disease-induced immunosuppression, and naturally occurring human mutations. The innate immune system is well equipped to recognize and destroy pathogenic fungi through specialized cells expressing a broad range of pattern recognition receptors (PRRs). This review will outline the cells and PRRs required for effective antifungal immunity, with a special focus on the major antifungal cytokine IL-17 and recently characterized antifungal inflammasomes.
Oropharyngeal candidiasis (OPC) is an opportunistic fungal infection caused by Candida albicans. OPC is frequent in HIV/AIDS, implicating adaptive immunity. Mice are naive to Candida, yet IL-17 is induced within 24 h of infection, and susceptibility is strongly dependent on IL-17R signaling. We sought to identify the source of IL-17 during the early innate response to candidiasis. We show that innate responses to Candida require an intact TCR, as SCID, IL-7R?(-/-), and Rag1(-/-) mice were susceptible to OPC, and blockade of TCR signaling by cyclosporine induced susceptibility. Using fate-tracking IL-17 reporter mice, we found that IL-17 is produced within 1-2 d by tongue-resident populations of ?? T cells and CD3(+)CD4(+)CD44(hi)TCR?(+)CCR6(+) natural Th17 (nTh17) cells, but not by TCR-deficient innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) or NK cells. These cells function redundantly, as TCR-?(-/-) and TCR-?(-/-) mice were both resistant to OPC. Whereas ?? T cells were previously shown to produce IL-17 during dermal candidiasis and are known to mediate host defense at mucosal surfaces, nTh17 cells are poorly understood. The oral nTh17 population expanded rapidly after OPC, exhibited high TCR-? clonal diversity, and was absent in Rag1(-/-), IL-7R?(-/-), and germ-free mice. These findings indicate that nTh17 and ?? T cells, but not ILCs, are key mucosal sentinels that control oral pathogens.
Following the discovery of T helper 17 (TH17) cells, the past decade has witnessed a major revision of the TH subset paradigm and substantial progress has been made in deciphering the molecular mechanisms of T cell lineage commitment and function. In this Review, we focus on the recent advances that have been made regarding the transcriptional control of TH17 cell plasticity and stability, as well as the effector functions of TH17 cells, and we highlight the mechanisms of IL-17 signalling in mesenchymal and barrier epithelial tissues. We also discuss the emerging clinical data showing that IL-17-specific and IL-23-specific antibody treatments are remarkably effective for treating many immune-mediated inflammatory diseases.
In recent years, proinflammatory cytokines in the nephritic kidney appear to contribute to the pathogenesis of AGN. The complex inflammatory cytokine network that drives renal pathology is poorly understood. IL-17, the signature cytokine of Th17 cells, which promotes autoimmune pathology in a variety of settings, is beginning to be identified in acute and chronic kidney diseases as well. However, the role of IL-17-mediated renal damage in the nephritic kidney has not been elucidated. Here, with the use of a murine model of experimental AGN, we showed that IL-17RA signaling is critical for the development of renal pathology. Despite normal systemic autoantibody response and glomerular immune-complex deposition, IL-17RA(-/-) mice exhibit a diminished influx of inflammatory cells and kidney-specific expression of IL-17 target genes correlating with disease resistance in AGN. IL-17 enhanced the production of proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines from tECs. Finally, we were able to show that neutralization of IL-17A ameliorated renal pathology in WT mice following AGN. These results clearly demonstrated that IL-17RA signaling significantly contributes to renal tissue injury in experimental AGN and suggest that blocking IL-17RA may be a promising therapeutic strategy for the treatment of proliferative and crescentic glomerulonephritis.
Oropharyngeal candidiasis (OPC), caused by the commensal fungus Candida albicans, is an opportunistic infection associated with infancy, AIDS, and IL-17-related primary immunodeficiencies. The Th17-associated cytokines IL-23 and IL-17 are crucial for immunity to OPC, but the mechanisms by which they mediate immunity are poorly defined. IL-17RA-deficient humans and mice are strongly susceptible to OPC, with reduced levels of CXC chemokines and concomitantly impaired neutrophil recruitment to the oral mucosa. Paradoxically, humans with isolated neutropenia are typically not susceptible to candidiasis. To determine whether immunity to OPC is mediated via neutrophil recruitment, mice lacking CXCR2 were subjected to OPC and were found to be highly susceptible, although there was no dissemination of fungi to peripheral organs. To assess whether the entire neutrophil response is IL-17 dependent, IL-17RA(-/-) and IL-23(-/-) mice were administered neutrophil-depleting Abs and subjected to OPC. These mice displayed increased oral fungal burdens compared with IL-17RA(-/-) or IL-23(-/-) mice alone, indicating that additional IL-17-independent signals contribute to the neutrophil response. WT mice treated with anti-Gr-1 Abs exhibited a robust infiltrate of CD11b(+)Ly-6G(low)F4/80(-) cells to the oral mucosa but were nonetheless highly susceptible to OPC, indicating that this monocytic influx is insufficient for host defense. Surprisingly, Ly-6G Ab treatment did not induce the same strong susceptibility to OPC in WT mice. Thus, CXCR2(+) and Gr-1(+) neutrophils play a vital role in host defense against OPC. Moreover, defects in the IL-23/17 axis cause a potent but incomplete deficiency in the neutrophil response to oral candidiasis.
Accumulating data implicate the CD4+ T cell subset (Th17 cells) in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). IL-17 is an inflammatory cytokine that induces tumor necrosis factor (TNF)?, IL-1? and IL-6, all of which are targets of biologic therapies used to treat RA. RA patients are well documented to experience more infections than age-matched controls, and biologic therapies further increase the risk of infection. The Th17/IL-17 axis is vital for immunity to fungi, especially the commensal fungus Candida albicans. Therefore, we were prompted to examine the relationship between RA and susceptibility to C. albicans because of the increasing interest in Th17 cells and IL-17 in driving autoimmunity, and the advent of new biologics that target this pathway.
Candida albicans remains the fungus most frequently associated with nosocomial bloodstream infection. In disseminated candidiasis, the role of Foxp3(+) regulatory T (Treg) cells remains largely unexplored. Our aims were to characterize Foxp3(+) Treg-cell activation in a murine intravenous challenge model of disseminated C. albicans infection, and determine the contribution to disease. Flow cytometric analyses demonstrated that C. albicans infection drove in vivo expansion of a splenic CD4(+) Foxp3(+) population that correlated positively with fungal burden. Depletion from Foxp3(hCD2) reporter mice in vivo confirmed that Foxp3(+) cells exacerbated fungal burden and inflammatory renal disease. The CD4(+) Foxp3(+) population expanded further after in vitro stimulation with C. albicans antigens (Ags), and included at least three cell types. These arose from proliferation of the natural Treg-cell subset, together with conversion of Foxp3(-) cells to the induced Treg-cell form, and to a cell type sharing effector Th17-cell characteristics, expressing ROR-?t, and secreting IL-17A. The expanded Foxp3(+) T cells inhibited Th1 and Th2 responses, but enhanced Th17-cell responses to C. albicans Ags in vitro, and in vivo depletion confirmed their ability to enhance the Th17-cell response. These data lead to a model for disseminated candidiasis whereby expansion of Foxp3(+) T cells promotes Th17-cell responses that drive pathology.
Oropharyngeal candidiasis (OPC, thrush) is an opportunistic infection caused by the commensal fungus Candida albicans. OPC is common in individuals with HIV/AIDS, infants, patients on chemotherapy and individuals with congenital immune defects. Immunity to OPC is strongly dependent on the IL-23/IL-17R axis, as mice and humans with defects in IL-17R signaling (IL17F, ACT1, IL-17RA) or in genes that direct Th17 differentiation (STAT3, STAT1, CARD9) are prone to mucocutaneous candidiasis. Conventional Th17 cells are induced in response to C. albicans via signals from C-type lectin receptors, which signal through the adaptor CARD9 leading to production of Th17-inducing cytokines such as IL-6, IL-1? and IL-23. Recent data indicates that IL-17 can also be made by numerous innate cell subsets. These innate Type 17 cells resemble conventional Th17 cells, but they can be activated without need for prior antigen exposure. Because C. albicans is not a commensal organism in rodents and thus mice are naïve to this fungus, we had the opportunity to assess the role of CARD9 in innate versus adaptive responses using an OPC infection model. As expected, CARD9(-/-) mice failed to mount an adaptive Th17 response following oral Candida infection. Surprisingly, however, CARD9(-/-) mice had preserved innate IL-17-dependent responses to Candida, and were almost fully resistant to OPC. Thus, CARD9 is important primarily for adaptive immunity to C. albicans, whereas alternate recognition systems appear to be needed for effective innate responses.
Oropharyngeal candidiasis (OPC, thrush) is an opportunistic fungal infection caused by the commensal microbe Candida albicans. Immunity to OPC is strongly dependent on CD4+ T cells, particularly of the Th17 subset. IL-17-deficiency in mice or humans leads to chronic mucocutaneous candidiasis, but the specific downstream mechanisms of IL-17-mediated host defense remain unclear. Lipocalin-2 (Lcn2, 24p3, NGAL) is an antimicrobial host defense factor produced in response to inflammatory cytokines, particularly IL-17. Lcn2 plays a key role in preventing iron acquisition by bacteria that use catecholate-type siderophores, and lipocalin 2(-/-) mice are highly susceptible to infection by E. coli and Klebsiella pneumonia. The role of Lcn2 in mediating immunity to fungi is poorly defined. Accordingly, in this study we evaluated the role of Lcn2 in immunity to oral infection with C. albicans. Lcn2 is strongly upregulated following oral infection with C. albicans, and its expression is almost entirely abrogated in mice with defective IL-17 signaling (IL-17RA(-/-) or Act1(-/-)). However, Lcn2(-/-) mice were completely resistant to OPC, comparable to WT mice. Moreover, Lcn2-deficiency mediated protection from OPC induced by steroid immunosuppression. Therefore, despite its potent regulation during C. albicans infection, Lcn2 is not required for immunity to mucosal candidiasis.
The proinflammatory cytokine interleukin-17 (IL-17) is the signature cytokine of the T helper 17 (TH17) subset of CD4(+) T cells, and antibodies targeting IL-17 or the IL-17 receptor (IL-17R) show clinical efficacy in several autoimmune diseases. Although important for protective immunity against microorganisms, IL-17 causes collateral damage in inflammatory settings. TNFAIP3 encodes the deubiquitinase A20 and is genetically linked to numerous autoimmune syndromes. A20, a potent inhibitor of tumor necrosis factor-? signaling, removes ubiquitin from signaling intermediates upstream of nuclear factor ?B (NF-?B), thereby dampening NF-?B-mediated inflammation. We demonstrated that IL-17 stimulates TNFAIP3 expression. Enhanced IL-17-mediated induction of genes encoding proinflammatory factors, including IL-6 and various chemokines, occurred upon knockdown of A20 with short inhibitory RNA or in A20(-/-) cells. A20 associated with the E3 ubiquitin ligase TRAF6 (tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated factor 6) in an IL-17-dependent manner and restricted the IL-17-dependent activation of NF-?B and mitogen-activated protein kinases. A20 interacted directly with the distal domain of IL-17RA, a previously defined inhibitory domain. Together, these data describe a mechanism of restraining IL-17 signaling and reveal an aspect of A20 activity that may help to explain its role in autoimmunity in humans.
Candida albicans IRS4 encodes a protein that regulates phosphatidylinositol-(4,5)-bisphosphate, which was shown to contribute to hematogenously disseminated candidiasis (DC) after several days in the standard mouse model. Our objective was to more accurately define the temporal contributions of IRS4 to pathogenesis. During competition assays in vitro, an irs4-null (?irs4) mutant exhibited wild-type fitness. In DC experiments, mice were infected intravenously with the ?irs4 mutant, strain CAI-12 (1 × 10(5) CFU), or a mixture of the strains (0.5 × 10(5) CFU each). In single-strain infections, quantitative PCR revealed reduced ?irs4 mutant burdens within kidneys at days 1, 4, and 7 but not 6 h. In competitive infections, the ?irs4 mutant was outcompeted by CAI-12 in each mouse at ?6 h (competitive indices, P ? 0.0001). At 4 and 7 days, the ?irs4 mutant burdens during competitive infections were significantly lower than those during single-strain infections (P = 0.01 and P < 0.001, respectively), suggesting increased susceptibility to inflammatory responses. Phagocytic infiltration of kidneys in response to CAI-12 or competitive infections was significantly greater than that in response to ?irs4 mutant infection at days 1 and 4 (P < 0.001), and the ?irs4 mutant was more susceptible to phagocytosis and killing by human polymorphonuclear cells (P = 0.01 and P = 0.006, respectively) and mouse macrophages in vitro (P = 0.04 and P = 0.01, respectively). Therefore, IRS4 contributes to tissue invasion at early stages of DC and mediates resistance to phagocytosis as DC progresses. Microarray analysis revealed remarkably similar gene expression by the ?irs4 mutant and reference strain CAI-12 within blood, suggesting that IRS4 is not significantly involved in the hematogenous stage of disease. A competitive DC model detects attenuated virulence that is not evident with the standard model.
IL-17 is an inflammatory cytokine associated with anti-microbial host defense and pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases. Obesity is considered to be an inflammatory condition, but how cytokines and fat metabolism are interconnected remains poorly understood. Mesenchymal stem cells can differentiate into adipocytes, which serve as depots for stored fat. Despite the pro-inflammatory properties of IL-17, both IL-17- and IL-17RA-deficient mice are overweight. Consistently, IL-17 suppresses maturation of cells with adipogenic potential. However, the mechanism underlying IL-17-mediated inhibition is not defined. In this study, we addressed this question by evaluating the impact of IL-17 on a variety of transcription factors (TFs) that control adipogenesis, using 3T3-L1 cells to model adipocyte differentiation. Surprisingly, IL-17 does not suppress adipogenesis via C/EBP? and C/EBP?, TFs often considered to be central regulators of adipogenesis. Rather, IL-17 suppresses expression of several pro-adipogenic TFs, including PPAR? and C/EBP?. Moreover, we found that IL-17 regulates expression of several members of the Krüppel-like family (KLF). Specifically, IL-17 suppresses KLF15, a pro-adipogenic TF, and enhances expression of KLF2 and KLF3, which are anti-adipogenic. Thus, IL-17 suppresses adipogenesis at least in part through the combined effects of TFs that regulate adipocyte differentiation.
IL-17 is the founding member of a family of cytokines and receptors with unique structures and signaling properties. IL-17 is the signature cytokine of Th17 cells, a relatively new T cell population that promotes inflammation in settings of infection and autoimmunity. Despite advances in understanding Th17 cells, mechanisms of IL-17-mediated signal transduction are less well defined. IL-17 signaling requires contributions from two receptor subunits, IL-17RA and IL-17RC. Mutants of IL-17RC lacking the cytoplasmic domain are nonfunctional, indicating that IL-17RC provides essential but poorly understood signaling contributions to IL-17-mediated signaling. To better understand the role of IL-17RC in signaling, we performed a yeast 2-hybrid screen to identify novel proteins associated with the IL-17RC cytoplasmic tail. One of the most frequent candidates was the anaphase promoting complex protein 7 (APC7 or AnapC7), which interacted with both IL-17RC and IL-17RA. Knockdown of AnapC7 by siRNA silencing exerted no detectable impact on IL-17 signaling. However, AnapC5, which associates with AnapC7, was also able to bind IL-17RA and IL-17RC. Moreover, AnapC5 silencing enhanced IL-17-induced gene expression, suggesting an inhibitory activity. Strikingly, AnapC5 also associated with A20 (TNFAIP3), a recently-identified negative feedback regulator of IL-17 signal transduction. IL-17 signaling was not impacted by knockdown of Itch or TAXBP1, scaffolding proteins that mediate A20 inhibition in the TNF? and IL-1 signaling pathways. These data suggest a model in which AnapC5, rather than TAX1BP1 and Itch, is a novel adaptor and negative regulator of IL-17 signaling pathways.
A new class of inflammatory CD4(+) T cells that produce interleukin-17 (IL-17) (termed Th17) has been identified, which plays a critical role in numerous inflammatory conditions and autoimmune diseases. The active form of vitamin D, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D(3) [1,25(OH)(2)D(3)], has a direct repressive effect on the expression of IL-17A in both human and mouse T cells. In vivo treatment of mice with ongoing experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE; a mouse model of multiple sclerosis) diminishes paralysis and progression of the disease and reduces IL-17A-secreting CD4(+) T cells in the periphery and central nervous system (CNS). The mechanism of 1,25(OH)(2)D(3) repression of IL-17A expression was found to be transcriptional repression, mediated by the vitamin D receptor (VDR). Transcription assays, gel shifting, and chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assays indicate that the negative effect of 1,25(OH)(2)D(3) on IL-17A involves blocking of nuclear factor for activated T cells (NFAT), recruitment of histone deacetylase (HDAC), sequestration of Runt-related transcription factor 1 (Runx1) by 1,25(OH)(2)D(3)/VDR, and a direct effect of 1,25(OH)(2)D(3) on induction of Foxp3. Our results describe novel mechanisms and new concepts with regard to vitamin D and the immune system and suggest therapeutic targets for the control of autoimmune diseases.
The discovery of the Th17 lineage in 2005 triggered a major change in how immunity to infectious diseases is viewed. Fungal infections, in particular, have long been a relatively understudied area of investigation in terms of the host immune response. Candida albicans is a commensal yeast that colonizes mucosal sites and skin. In healthy individuals, it is non-pathogenic, but in conditions of immune deficiency, this organism can cause a variety of infections associated with considerable morbidity. Candida can also cause disseminated infections that have a high mortality rate and are a major clinical problem in hospital settings. Although immunity to Candida albicans was long considered to be mediated by Th1 cells, new data in both rodent models and in humans have revealed an essential role for the Th17 lineage, and in particular its signature cytokine IL-17.
The IL-17/IL-17 receptor family is the newest and least understood of the cytokine subclasses. Composed of ligands IL-17A-IL-17F and receptors IL-17RA-IL-17RE, these cytokines have many unique structural and functional features. Since the discovery of the Th17 subset in 2005, particular attention has been paid to IL-17A and IL-17F and their cognate receptors. To date, far less is known about the rest of the family. This review discusses recent advances in the field, with an emphasis on IL-17A biology.
Periodontal disease (PD) is a chronic inflammation of the tooth-supporting soft tissue and alveolar bone due to infection by a select group of gram-negative microbes, which leads to tooth loss if untreated. Because mice deficient in CD4(+) cells are resistant to infection-induced alveolar bone loss, Th cells have been implicated in bone-destructive processes during PD. However, the extent to which different Th cell subtypes play roles in pathogenesis or host protection remains to be defined and is likely to vary depending on the dominant microorganism involved. By far, Porphyromonas gingivalis is the best-studied periodontal microbe in PD. Although the gram-negative anaerobe Tannerella forsythia is also a vital contributor to periodontal bone loss, almost nothing is known about immune responses to this organism. Previous studies from our laboratory revealed that T. forsythia induces periodontal bone loss in mice and that this bone loss depends on the bacterially expressed BspA protein. In this study, we showed that T. forsythia activates murine APCs primarily through TLR2-dependent signaling via BspA. Furthermore, T. forsythia infection causes a pronounced Th2 bias, evidenced by T cell expression of IL-5, but not IFN-? or IL-17, in draining lymph nodes. Consistently, deficiencies in TLR2 or STAT6 result in resistance to T. forsythia-induced alveolar bone loss. Thus, TLR2 signaling and Th2 cells play pathogenic roles in T. forsythia-induced alveolar bone destruction.
Th17 cells and CD4(+)CD25(+)Foxp3(+) regulatory T (Treg) cells are thought to promote and suppress inflammatory responses, respectively. Here we explore why under Th17 cell polarizing conditions, Treg cells did not suppress, but rather upregulated, the expression of interleukin-17A (IL-17A), IL-17F, and IL-22 from responding CD4(+) T cells (Tresp cells). Upregulation of IL-17 cytokines in Tresp cells was dependent on consumption of IL-2 by Treg cells, especially at early time points both in vitro and in vivo. During an oral Candida albicans infection in mice, Treg cells induced IL-17 cytokines in Tresp cells, which markedly enhanced fungal clearance and recovery from infection. These findings show how Treg cells can promote acute Th17 cell responses to suppress mucosal fungus infections and reveal that Treg cells have a powerful capability to fight infections besides their role in maintaining tolerance or immune homeostasis.
The pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin (IL)-17 (also known as IL-17) has been associated with induction of tissue inflammation. Obese individuals exhibit many symptoms of chronic low-grade inflammation, suggesting that IL-17 may impact adipose tissue. However, the role of IL-17 in obesity is largely unexplored. Emerging studies indicate that obesity selectively promotes expansion of the Th17 T-cell lineage, exacerbating disease in murine models of autoimmunity such as EAE and colitis. Human studies support this concept, as new clinical studies suggest that IL-17 is expressed at elevated levels in obese individuals. Conversely, however, an anti-adipogenic role for IL-17 is becoming evident, and therefore the interconnections between IL-17 and fat metabolism may be quite complex. Here, we consolidate the potential implications of IL-17 in relation to obesity and describe the emerging data regarding the role of IL-17 in adipose tissue.
IL-17, the hallmark cytokine of the Th17 population, mediates immunity to extracellular pathogens and promotes autoimmune immunopathology. The signaling mechanisms triggered by the IL-17 receptor (IL-17RA) and related receptors are strikingly different from other cytokine subclasses. Namely, IL-17Rs contain a conserved SEF/IL-17R (SEFIR) subdomain that engages Act1, leading to activation of TRAF6, NF-?B, and other events. Although the SEFIR is critical for signaling, the molecular details of the functional subdomains within IL-17RA remain poorly characterized. Here, we provide a detailed structure-function analysis delineating the C-terminal boundary of the SEFIR-containing region of IL-17RA. We show that functionality of this domain requires a large extension to the previously identified SEFIR motif. In contrast to the SEFIR, this extension is not conserved among IL-17R family members. Surprisingly, Act1 recruitment is not sufficient for downstream signaling activation, whereas ubiquitination of TRAF6 correlates tightly with functional receptors. We further demonstrate that IL-17RA exhibits signaling properties that are nonredundant with other IL-17R family members. Finally, we report that IL-17 signals synergistically with lymphotoxin-?3, using the same signaling motifs within IL-17RA. These studies provide new insight into the structure-function relationships of IL-17RA and reveal distinct signaling differences among IL-17R family members.
IL-17 mediates essential inflammatory responses in host defense and autoimmunity. The IL-17A-IL-17F signaling complex is composed of IL-17RA and IL-17RC, both of which are necessary for signal transduction. To date, the specific contribution of IL-17RC to downstream signaling remains poorly understood. To define the regions within the IL-17RC cytoplasmic tail required for signal transduction, we assayed signaling by a panel of IL-17RC deletion mutants. These findings reveal that IL-17RC inducibly associates with a specific glycosylated IL-17RA isoform, in a manner independent of the IL-17RC cytoplasmic tail. Using expression of the IL-17 target genes IL-6 and 24p3/lipocalin-2 as a readout, functional reconstitution of signaling in IL-17RC(-/-) fibroblasts required the SEF/IL-17R signaling domain (SEFIR), a conserved motif common to IL-17R family members. Unexpectedly, the IL-17RC SEFIR alone was not sufficient to reconstitute IL-17-dependent signaling. Rather, an additional sequence downstream of the SEFIR was also necessary. We further found that IL-17RC interacts directly with the adaptor/E3 ubiquitin ligase Act1, and that the functional IL-17RC isoforms containing the extended SEFIR region interact specifically with a phosphorylated isoform of Act1. Finally, we show that IL-17RC is required for in vivo IL-17-dependent responses during oral mucosal infections caused by the human commensal fungus Candida albicans. These results indicate that IL-17RC is vital for IL-17-dependent signaling both in vitro and in vivo. Insight into the mechanisms by which IL-17RC signals helps shed light on IL-17-dependent inflammatory responses and may ultimately provide an avenue for therapeutic intervention in IL-17-mediated diseases.
Interleukin-17 (IL-17) has emerged as a central player in the mammalian immune system. Although this cytokine exerts a host-defensive role in many infectious diseases, it promotes inflammatory pathology in autoimmunity and other settings. A myriad of studies have focused on how IL-17-producing cells are generated. However, the means by which IL-17 achieves its effects, either for the benefit or the detriment of the host, are due in large part to the induction of new gene expression. Whereas many IL-17 target genes are common to different disease states, in some cases the effects of IL-17 differ depending on the target cell, infectious site or pathogen. Gene products induced by IL-17 include cytokines (IL-6, granulocyte-colony-stimulating factor, tumour necrosis factor-alpha), chemokines (CXCL1, CXCL2, CCL20, among many others), inflammatory effectors (acute-phase protesins, complement) and antimicrobial proteins (defensins, mucins). Different cell types appear to respond differently to IL-17 in terms of target gene expression, with notable differences seen in mesenchymal and epithelial cells compared with cells of haematopoietic origin. Here, we summarize the major IL-17 target genes that mediate this cytokines activities in both autoimmune and chronic diseases as well as during various types of infections.
Candida albicans causes mucosal and disseminated candidiasis, which represent serious problems for the rapidly expanding immunocompromised population. Until recently, Th1-mediated immunity was thought to confer the primary protection, particularly for oral candidiasis. However, emerging data indicate that the newly-defined Th17 compartment appears to play the predominant role in mucosal candidiasis.
Chronic granulomatous disease (CGD), an inherited disorder of the NADPH oxidase in which phagocytes are defective in generating superoxide anion and downstream reactive oxidant intermediates (ROIs), is characterized by recurrent bacterial and fungal infections and by excessive inflammation (e.g., inflammatory bowel disease). The mechanisms by which NADPH oxidase regulates inflammation are not well understood.
Dysfunctional expression of T-bet, a transcription factor that is critical for IFN-gamma production, has been implicated in the development of asthma. To investigate in detail the mechanisms responsible for exacerbated disease in the absence of T-bet expression, BALB/c wild-type (WT) and T-bet(-/-) mice were used in a murine model of OVA-induced allergic lung inflammation. Following OVA challenge, T-bet(-/-) mice displayed increased histological inflammation in the lungs as well as greater thickening of the bronchiole linings, increased numbers of eosinophils and neutrophils in the lung, and enhanced airway hyperresponsiveness, compared with WT mice. However, the production of Th2 cytokines in T-bet(-/-) mice did not appear to be significantly greater than in WT mice. Interestingly, a marked increase in the levels of the proinflammatory cytokine IL-17 was observed in T-bet(-/-) mice. Neutralization of pulmonary IL-17 in T-bet(-/-) mice by anti-IL-17 mAb treatment during OVA challenge resulted in decreased levels of neutrophilic infiltration into the airways and decreased airway inflammation, essentially reversing the development of allergic asthma development. These findings indicate that IL-17 is a key mediator of airway inflammation in the absence of T-bet. The results of this study suggest a possible target for therapeutic intervention of human asthma.
Interleukin (IL)-17 (also known as IL-17A), the signature cytokine of the newly described T helper 17 (Th17) cell population, has been implicated in the pathogenesis of numerous autoimmune diseases including rheumatoid arthritis. IL-17 is the founding member of a new subclass of cytokines that have highly proinflammatory properties. Studies in rodents and mammalian cell culture systems, as well as clinical settings, support a role for IL-17 in promoting rheumatoid arthritis. This article discusses the history of the discovery of Th17 cells, the potential mechanisms of action of IL-17 in autoimmunity, and perspectives for IL-17-targeted cytokine therapy.
Post-menopausal osteoporosis is considered to be an inflammatory process, in which numerous pro-inflammatory and T-cell-derived cytokines play a bone-destructive role. IL-17A is the signature cytokine of the pro-inflammatory Th17 population and plays dichotomous roles in diseases that affect bone turnover. Although IL-17A promotes bone loss in rheumatoid arthritis, it is protective against pathogen-induced bone destruction in a periodontal disease model. We used a model of ovariectomy-induced osteoporosis (OVX) in IL-17 receptor (IL-17RA)(-/-) mice to evaluate the role of the IL-17A in bone loss caused by estrogen deficiency. Unexpectedly, IL-17RA(-/-) mice were consistently and markedly more susceptible to OVX-induced bone loss than controls. There were no changes in prototypical Th1, Th2 or Th17 cytokines in serum that could account for increased bone loss. However, IL-17RA(-/-) mice exhibited constitutively elevated leptin, which further increased following OVX. Consistently, IL-17A and IL-17F treatment of 3T3-L1 pre-adipocytes inhibited adipogenesis, leading to reduced production of leptin. In addition to its role in regulating metabolism and satiety, leptin can regulate bone turnover. Accordingly, these data show that IL-17A negatively regulates adipogenesis and subsequent leptin expression, which correlates with increased bone destruction during OVX.
The interleukin (IL)-17 cytokine family members IL-17A and IL-17F mediate inflammatory activities via the IL-17 receptor (IL-17R) complex, comprised of the IL-17RA and IL-17RC subunits. Proper regulation of the IL-17 signaling axis results in effective host defense against extracellular pathogens, while aberrant signaling can drive autoimmune pathology. Elucidating the molecular mechanisms underlying IL-17 signal transduction can yield an enhanced understanding of inflammatory immune processes and also create an avenue for therapeutic intervention in the treatment of IL-17-dependent diseases. To date, the fundamental signaling mechanisms used by the IL-17R complex are still incompletely defined. While current structure-function studies have primarily focused on the IL-17RA subunit, recent research indicates that the IL-17RC subunit plays a key role in modulating IL-17 responses. This review will examine what is known regarding IL-17RC function and provide a framework for future work on this subunit and its impact on human health.
Interleukin-17A (IL-17A), the hallmark cytokine of the newly defined T helper 17 (T(H)17) cell subset, has important roles in protecting the host against extracellular pathogens, but also promotes inflammatory pathology in autoimmune disease. IL-17A and its receptor (IL-17RA) are the founding members of a newly described family of cytokines and receptors that have unique structural features which distinguish them from other cytokine families. Research defining the signal transduction pathways induced by IL-17R family cytokines has lagged behind that of other cytokine families, but studies in the past 2 years have begun to delineate unusual functional motifs and new proximal signalling mediators used by the IL-17R family to mediate downstream events.
TLR stimulation triggers a signaling pathway via MyD88 and IL-1R-associated kinase 4 that is essential for proinflammatory cytokine induction. Although NF-kappaB has been shown to be one of the key transcriptional regulators of these cytokines, evidence suggests that other factors may also be important. In this study, we showed that MyD88-deficient macrophages have defective c-Rel activation, which has been linked to IL-12p40 induction, but not IL-6 or TNF-alpha. We also investigated other transcription factors and showed that C/EBPbeta and C/EBPdelta expression was limited in MyD88- or IL-1R-associated kinase 4-deficient macrophages treated with LPS. Importantly, the absence of both C/EBPbeta and C/EBPdelta resulted in the impaired induction of proinflammatory cytokines stimulated by several TLR ligands. Our results identify c-Rel and C/EBPbeta/delta as important transcription factors in a MyD88-dependent pathway that regulate the induction of proinflammatory cytokines.
Interleukin-17 (IL-17), the hallmark cytokine of T helper 17 (T(H)17) cells, signals through a distinct receptor subclass, yet little is known about the mechanisms involved. IL-17 activates the expression of target genes through the actions of the transcription factors nuclear factor kappaB (NF-kappaB), CAAT enhancer binding protein delta (C/EBPdelta), and C/EBPbeta. The adaptor proteins tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated factor 6 (TRAF6) and Act1 are upstream of NF-kappaB and C/EBPdelta, but the regulation of C/EBPbeta remains undefined. Here, we show that IL-17 signaling led to phosphorylation of two sites in the regulatory 2 domain of C/EBPbeta in a sequential, interdependent fashion. The first was rapid and dependent on extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), whereas the second was dependent on the activity of glycogen synthase kinase 3beta (GSK-3beta). These pathways were mediated by distinct subdomains within IL-17 receptor A (IL-17RA). Whereas phosphorylation of threonine 188 (Thr188) was mediated by the previously identified SEF/IL-17R homology domain-Toll-IL-1R-like loop (SEFIR-TILL), phosphorylation of Thr179 occurred through a newly characterized motif located in the distal tail of IL-17RA. Phosphorylated C/EBPbeta mediated a negative signal, because blocking ERK and GSK-3beta increased expression of IL-17 target genes and a C/EBPbeta-Thr188 mutant enhanced activation of a C/EBP-dependent reporter. Overexpression of GSK-3beta inhibited IL-17-induced activation of a C/EBP-dependent reporter, and Thr179 of C/EBPbeta was not phosphorylated in GSK-3beta-deficient cells. Thus, IL-17 triggered the dual phosphorylation of C/EBPbeta, which inhibited the expression of proinflammatory genes. This detailed dissection is the first for the IL-17-mediated C/EBP pathway and the first known example of a negative signal mediated by IL-17RA.
The commensal fungus Candida albicans causes oropharyngeal candidiasis (OPC; thrush) in settings of immunodeficiency. Although disseminated, vaginal, and oral candidiasis are all caused by C. albicans species, host defense against C. albicans varies by anatomical location. T helper 1 (Th1) cells have long been implicated in defense against candidiasis, whereas the role of Th17 cells remains controversial. IL-17 mediates inflammatory pathology in a gastric model of mucosal candidiasis, but is host protective in disseminated disease. Here, we directly compared Th1 and Th17 function in a model of OPC. Th17-deficient (IL-23p19(-/-)) and IL-17R-deficient (IL-17RA(-/-)) mice experienced severe OPC, whereas Th1-deficient (IL-12p35(-/-)) mice showed low fungal burdens and no overt disease. Neutrophil recruitment was impaired in IL-23p19(-/-) and IL-17RA(-/-), but not IL-12(-/-), mice, and TCR-alphabeta cells were more important than TCR-gammadelta cells. Surprisingly, mice deficient in the Th17 cytokine IL-22 were only mildly susceptible to OPC, indicating that IL-17 rather than IL-22 is vital in defense against oral candidiasis. Gene profiling of oral mucosal tissue showed strong induction of Th17 signature genes, including CXC chemokines and beta defensin-3. Saliva from Th17-deficient, but not Th1-deficient, mice exhibited reduced candidacidal activity. Thus, the Th17 lineage, acting largely through IL-17, confers the dominant response to oral candidiasis through neutrophils and antimicrobial factors.
The importance of T helper type 1 (Th1) cell immunity in host resistance to the intracellular bacterium Francisella tularensis is well established. However, the relative roles of interleukin (IL)-12-Th1 and IL-23-Th17 cell responses in immunity to F. tularensis have not been studied. The IL-23-Th17 cell pathway is critical for protective immunity against extracellular bacterial infections. In contrast, the IL-23-Th17 cell pathway is dispensable for protection against intracellular pathogens such as Mycobacteria. Here we show that the IL-23-Th17 pathway regulates the IL-12-Th1 cell pathway and was required for protective immunity against F.tularensis live vaccine strain. We show that IL-17A, but not IL-17F or IL-22, induced IL-12 production in dendritic cells and mediated Th1 responses. Furthermore, we show that IL-17A also induced IL-12 and interferon-gamma production in macrophages and mediated bacterial killing. Together, these findings illustrate a biological function for IL-17A in regulating IL-12-Th1 cell immunity and host responses to an intracellular pathogen.
ABSTRACT: IL-17 and related cytokines are direct and indirect targets of selective immunosuppressive agents for the treatment of autoimmune diseases and other diseases of pathologic inflammation. Insights into the potential adverse effects of IL-17 blockade can be drawn from the experience of patients with deficiencies in the IL-17 pathway. A unifying theme of susceptibility to mucocutaneous candidiasis is seen in both mice and humans with a variety of genetic defects that converge on this pathway. Mucocutaneous candidiasis is a superficial infection of mucosal, nail or skin surfaces usually caused by the fungal pathogen Candida albicans. The morbidity of the disease includes significant pain, weight loss and secondary complications, including carcinoma and aneurysms. This review describes the known human diseases associated with chronic mucocutaneous candidiasis (CMC) as well as the known and proposed connections to IL-17 signaling. The human diseases include defects in IL-17 signaling due to autoantibodies (AIRE deficiency), receptor mutations (IL-17 receptor mutations) or mutations in the cytokine genes (IL17F and IL17A). Hyper-IgE syndrome is characterized by elevated serum IgE, dermatitis and recurrent infections, including CMC due to impaired generation of IL-17-producing Th17 cells. Mutations in STAT1, IL12B and IL12RB1 result in CMC secondary to decreased IL-17 production through different mechanisms. Dectin-1 defects and CARD9 defects result in susceptibility to C. albicans because of impaired host recognition of the pathogen and subsequent impaired generation of IL-17-producing T cells. Thus, recent discoveries of genetic predisposition to CMC have driven the recognition of the role of IL-17 in protection from mucosal fungal infection and should guide counseling and management of patients treated with pharmacologic IL-17 blockade.
Our understanding of immunity to fungal pathogens has advanced considerably in recent years. Particularly significant have been the parallel discoveries in the C-type lectin receptor family and the Th effector arms of immunity, especially Th17 cells and their signature cytokine, IL-17. Many of these studies have focused on the most common human fungal pathogen, Candida albicans, which is typically a commensal microbe in healthy individuals but causes various disease manifestations in immunocompromised hosts, ranging from mild mucosal infections to lethal disseminated disease. Here, we discuss emerging fundamental discoveries with C. albicans that have informed our overall molecular understanding of fungal immunity. In particular, we focus on the importance of pattern recognition receptor-mediated fungal recognition and subsequent IL-17 responses in host defense against mucosal candidiasis. In light of these recent advances, we also discuss the implications for anticytokine biologic therapy and vaccine development.
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