Chlamydia trachomatis (Ctr), an obligate intracellular bacterium, survives and replicates within a membrane-bound vacuole, termed the inclusion, which intercepts host exocytic pathways to acquire nutrients. Ctr subverts cellular trafficking pathways from the Golgi by targeting small GTPases, including Rab proteins, to sustain intracellular bacterial replication; however, the precise mechanisms involved remain incompletely understood. Here, we show that Chlamydia infection in human epithelial cells induces microtubule remodeling, in particular the formation of detyrosinated stable MTs, to recruit Golgi ministacks, but not recycling endosomes, to the inclusion. These stable microtubules show increased resistance to chemically induced depolymerization, and their selective depletion results in reduced bacterial infectivity. Rab6 knockdown reversibly prevented not only Golgi ministack formation but also detyrosinated microtubule association with the inclusion. Our data demonstrate that Chlamydia co-opts the function of stable microtubules to support its development.
Myeloid cells encompass distinct populations with unique functions during homeostasis and disease. Recently, a novel subset of innate cells, myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs), has been described in cancer, which suppresses T-cell responses and fosters disease progression. The role of MDSCs in infection is insufficiently addressed.
The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) is a highly conserved ligand-dependent transcription factor that senses environmental toxins and endogenous ligands, thereby inducing detoxifying enzymes and modulating immune cell differentiation and responses. We hypothesized that AhR evolved to sense not only environmental pollutants but also microbial insults. We characterized bacterial pigmented virulence factors, namely the phenazines from Pseudomonas aeruginosa and the naphthoquinone phthiocol from Mycobacterium tuberculosis, as ligands of AhR. Upon ligand binding, AhR activation leads to virulence factor degradation and regulated cytokine and chemokine production. The relevance of AhR to host defence is underlined by heightened susceptibility of AhR-deficient mice to both P. aeruginosa and M. tuberculosis. Thus, we demonstrate that AhR senses distinct bacterial virulence factors and controls antibacterial responses, supporting a previously unidentified role for AhR as an intracellular pattern recognition receptor, and identify bacterial pigments as a new class of pathogen-associated molecular patterns.
Chlamydia, a major human bacterial pathogen, assumes effective strategies to protect infected cells against death-inducing stimuli, thereby ensuring completion of its developmental cycle. Paired with its capacity to cause extensive host DNA damage, this poses a potential risk of malignant transformation, consistent with circumstantial epidemiological evidence. Here we reveal a dramatic depletion of p53, a tumor suppressor deregulated in many cancers, during Chlamydia infection. Using biochemical approaches and live imaging of individual cells, we demonstrate that p53 diminution requires phosphorylation of Murine Double Minute 2 (MDM2; a ubiquitin ligase) and subsequent interaction of phospho-MDM2 with p53 before induced proteasomal degradation. Strikingly, inhibition of the p53-MDM2 interaction is sufficient to disrupt intracellular development of Chlamydia and interferes with the pathogen's anti-apoptotic effect on host cells. This highlights the dependency of the pathogen on a functional MDM2-p53 axis and lends support to a potentially pro-carcinogenic effect of chlamydial infection.
General interest in the biological functions of IFN type I in Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) infection increased after the recent identification of a distinct IFN gene expression signature in tuberculosis (TB) patients. Here, we demonstrate that TB-susceptible mice lacking the receptor for IFN I (IFNAR1) were protected from death upon aerogenic infection with Mtb. Using this experimental model to mimic primary progressive pulmonary TB, we dissected the immune processes affected by IFN I. IFNAR1 signaling did not affect T-cell responses, but markedly altered migration of inflammatory monocytes and neutrophils to the lung. This process was orchestrated by IFNAR1 expressed on both immune and tissue-resident radioresistant cells. IFNAR1-driven TB susceptibility was initiated by augmented Mtb replication and in situ death events, along with CXCL5/CXCL1-driven accumulation of neutrophils in alveoli, followed by the discrete compartmentalization of Mtb in lung phagocytes. Early depletion of neutrophils rescued TB-susceptible mice to levels observed in mice lacking IFNAR1. We conclude that IFN I alters early innate events at the site of Mtb invasion leading to fatal immunopathology. These data furnish a mechanistic explanation for the detrimental role of IFN I in pulmonary TB and form a basis for understanding the complex roles of IFN I in chronic inflammation.
Following contact with the epithelium, the enteric intracellular bacterial pathogen Shigella flexneri invades epithelial cells and escapes intracellular phagosomal destruction using its type III secretion system (T3SS). The bacterium replicates within the host cell cytosol and spreads between cells using actin-based motility, which is mediated by the virulence factor IcsA (VirG). Whereas S. flexneri invasion is well characterized, adhesion mechanisms of the bacterium remain elusive. We found that IcsA also functions as an adhesin that is both necessary and sufficient to promote contact with host cells. As adhesion can be beneficial or deleterious depending on the host cell type, S. flexneri regulates IcsA-dependent adhesion. Activation of the T3SS in response to the bile salt deoxycholate triggers IcsA-dependent adhesion and enhances pathogen invasion. IcsA-dependent adhesion contributes to virulence in a mouse model of shigellosis, underscoring the importance of this adhesin to S. flexneri pathogenesis.
For membrane-bound intracellular pathogens, the surrounding vacuole is the portal of communication with the host cell. The parasitophorous vacuole (PV) harboring intrahepatocytic Plasmodium parasites satisfies the parasites' needs of nutrition and protection from host defenses to allow the rapid parasite growth that occurs during the liver stage of infection. In this study, we visualized the PV membrane (PVM) and the associated tubovesicular network (TVN) through fluorescent tagging of two PVM-resident Plasmodium berghei proteins, UIS4 and IBIS1. This strategy revealed previously unrecognized dynamics with which these membranes extend throughout the host cell. We observed dynamic vesicles, elongated clusters of membranes and long tubules that rapidly extend and contract from the PVM in a microtubule-dependent manner. Live microscopy, correlative light-electron microscopy and fluorescent recovery after photobleaching enabled a detailed characterization of these membranous features, including velocities, the distribution of UIS4 and IBIS1, and the connectivity of PVM and TVN. Labeling of host cell compartments revealed association of late endosomes and lysosomes with the elongated membrane clusters. Moreover, the signature host autophagosome protein LC3 was recruited to the PVM and TVN and colocalized with UIS4. Together, our data demonstrate that the membranes surrounding intrahepatic Plasmodium are involved in active remodeling of host cells.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic autoimmune disorder affecting the central nervous system (CNS) through demyelination and neurodegeneration. Until recently, major therapeutic treatments have relied on agents requiring injection delivery. In September 2010, fingolimod/FTY720 (Gilenya, Novartis) was approved as the first oral treatment for relapsing forms of MS. Fingolimod causes down-modulation of S1P1 receptors on lymphocytes which prevents the invasion of autoaggressive T cells into the CNS. In astrocytes, down-modulation of S1P1 by the drug reduces astrogliosis, a hallmark of MS, thereby allowing restoration of productive astrocyte communication with other neural cells and the blood brain barrier. Animal data further suggest that the drug directly supports the recovery of nerve conduction and remyelination. In human MS, such mechanisms may explain the significant decrease in the number of inflammatory markers on brain magnetic resonance imaging in recent clinical trials, and the reduction of brain atrophy by the drug. Fingolimod binds to 4 of the 5 known S1P receptor subtypes, and significant efforts were made over the past 5years to develop next generation S1P receptor modulators and determine the minimal receptor selectivity needed for maximal therapeutic efficacy in MS patients. Other approaches considered were competitive antagonists of the S1P1 receptor, inhibitors of the S1P lyase to prevent S1P degradation, and anti-S1P antibodies. Below we discuss the current status of the field, and the functional properties of the most advanced compounds. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled New frontiers in sphingolipid biology.
Propionibacteria are part of the human microbiota. Many studies have addressed the predominant colonizer of sebaceous follicles of the skin, Propionibacterium acnes, and investigated its association with the skin disorder acne vulgaris, and lately with prostate cancer. Much less is known about two other propionibacterial species frequently found on human tissue sites, Propionibacterium granulosum and Propionibacterium avidum. Here we analyzed two and three genomes of P. granulosum and P. avidum, respectively, and compared them to two genomes of P. acnes; we further highlight differences among the three cutaneous species with proteomic and microscopy approaches.
We show that activation of Wnt/?-catenin and attenuation of Bmp signals, by combined gain- and loss-of-function mutations of ?-catenin and Bmpr1a, respectively, results in rapidly growing, aggressive squamous cell carcinomas (SCC) in the salivary glands of mice. Tumours contain transplantable and hyperproliferative tumour propagating cells, which can be enriched by fluorescence activated cell sorting (FACS). Single mutations stimulate stem cells, but tumours are not formed. We show that ?-catenin, CBP and Mll promote self-renewal and H3K4 tri-methylation in tumour propagating cells. Blocking ?-catenin-CBP interaction with the small molecule ICG-001 and small-interfering RNAs against ?-catenin, CBP or Mll abrogate hyperproliferation and H3K4 tri-methylation, and induce differentiation of cultured tumour propagating cells into acini-like structures. ICG-001 decreases H3K4me3 at promoters of stem cell-associated genes in vitro and reduces tumour growth in vivo. Remarkably, high Wnt/?-catenin and low Bmp signalling also characterize human salivary gland SCC and head and neck SCC in general. Our work defines mechanisms by which ?-catenin signals remodel chromatin and control induction and maintenance of tumour propagating cells. Further, it supports new strategies for the therapy of solid tumours.
Upon activation, neutrophils release fibers composed of chromatin and neutrophil proteins termed neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs). NETs trap and kill microbes, activate dendritic cells and T cells, and are implicated in autoimmune and vascular diseases. Given the growing interest in the role of neutrophils in cancer immunoediting and the diverse function of NETs, we searched for NETs release by tumor-associated neutrophils (TANs). Using pediatric Ewing sarcoma (ES) as a model, we retrospectively examined histopathological material from diagnostic biopsies of eight patients (mean ± SD age of 11.5 ± 4.7 years). TANs were found in six patients and in two of those we identified NETs. These two patients presented with metastatic disease and despite entering complete remission after intensive chemotherapy had an early relapse. NETs were not identified in the diagnostic biopsies of two patients with localized disease and two with metastatic disease. This study is the first to show that TANs in ES are activated to make NETs, pointing to a possible role of NETs in cancer.
Plasmodium sporozoites, single cell eukaryotic pathogens, use their own actin/myosin-based motor machinery for life cycle progression, which includes forward locomotion, penetration of cellular barriers, and invasion of target cells. To display fast gliding motility, the parasite uses a high turnover of actin polymerization and adhesion sites. Paradoxically, only a few classic actin regulatory proteins appear to be encoded in the Plasmodium genome. Small heat shock proteins have been associated with cytoskeleton modulation in various biological processes. In this study, we identify HSP20 as a novel player in Plasmodium motility and provide molecular genetics evidence for a critical role of a small heat shock protein in cell traction and motility. We demonstrate that HSP20 ablation profoundly affects sporozoite-substrate adhesion, which translates into aberrant speed and directionality in vitro. Loss of HSP20 function impairs migration in the host, an important sporozoite trait required to find a blood vessel and reach the liver after being deposited in the skin by the mosquito. Our study also shows that fast locomotion of sporozoites is crucial during natural malaria transmission.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic autoimmune disorder affecting the central nervous system (CNS) through demyelination and neurodegeneration. Until recently, major therapeutic treatments have relied on agents requiring injection delivery. In September 2010, fingolimod/FTY720 (Gilenya, Novartis) was approved by the FDA as the first oral treatment for relapsing forms of MS. Fingolimod is a novel compound produced by chemical modification of a fungal precursor. Its active metabolite, formed by in vivo phosphorylation, modulates sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) receptors that are a subset of a larger family of cell-surface, G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) mediating the effects of bioactive lipids known as lysophospholipids. Fingolimods mechanism of action in MS is not completely understood; however, its relevant biology indicates a fundamentally different mechanism compared to all previously approved MS therapies, with evolving research supporting both immunological and nervous system activities. This duality may herald a paradigm shift in the treatment of MS and other neurological disorders.
Microtubule-associated protein 1 (MAP1) light chain 3 (LC3) has proven useful as autophagosomal marker in studies on the interaction between pathogens and the host autophagic machinery. However, the function of LC3 is known to extend above and beyond its role in autophagosome formation. We previously reported that intrinsic LC3 is associated with the intracellular Chlamydia trachomatis inclusion in human epithelial cells. Here we show that LC3, most likely the cytoplasmic nonlipidated form, interacts with the C. trachomatis inclusion as a microtubule-associated protein rather than an autophagosome-associated component. In contrast, N-terminally GFP-tagged LC3 exclusively targets autophagosomes rather than chlamydial inclusions. Immunofluorescence analysis revealed an association of LC3 and MAP1 subunits A and B with the inclusion as early as 18 h post infection. Inclusion-bound LC3 was connected with the microtubular network. Depolymerization of the microtubular architecture disrupted the association of LC3/MAP1s with the inclusion. Furthermore, siRNA-mediated silencing of the MAP1 and LC3 proteins revealed their essential function in the intracellular growth of C. trachomatis. Interestingly, defective autophagy remarkably enhanced chlamydial growth, suggesting a suppressive effect of the autophagic machinery on bacterial development. However, depletion of LC3 in autophagy-deficient cells noticeably reduced chlamydial propagation. Thus, our findings demonstrate a new function for LC3, distinct from autophagy, in intracellular bacterial pathogenesis.
Fingolimod (FTY720) is an FDA-approved therapeutic drug with efficacy demonstrated in experimental models of multiple sclerosis and in phase III human multiple sclerosis trials. Fingolimod prevents T-cell migration to inflammatory sites by decreasing expression of the sphingosine-1 phosphate receptor normally required for egress from secondary lymphoid tissue. As a preclinical model of human uveitis, experimental autoimmune uveoretinitis permits assessment of immunotherapeutic efficacy. Murine experimental autoimmune uveoretinitis is induced by activation of retinal antigen-specific CD4(+) T cells that infiltrate the eye. High-dose fingolimod treatment administered before disease onset reduces ocular infiltration within hours of administration and suppresses clinicopathologic expression of experimental autoimmune uveoretinitis. In the present investigation of the efficacy of fingolimod treatment for established disease, single-dose treatment was effective and immunosuppressive ability was maintained through a dose range, demonstrating significant and rapid reduction in CD4(+) cell infiltration at clinically relevant therapeutic doses of fingolimod. A repeated-treatment regimen using a dose similar to that in current multiple sclerosis patient protocols significantly reduced infiltration within 24 hours of administration; importantly, repeated doses did not compromise the vascular integrity of the blood-ocular barrier. On withdrawal of fingolimod, drug-induced remission was lost and recrudescence of clinical disease was observed. These results support a strong therapeutic potential for fingolimod as an acute rescue therapy for the treatment of ocular immune-mediated inflammation.
Large-scale molecular profiling technologies have assisted the identification of disease biomarkers and facilitated the basic understanding of cellular processes. However, samples collected from human subjects in clinical trials possess a level of complexity, arising from multiple cell types, that can obfuscate the analysis of data derived from them. Failure to identify, quantify, and incorporate sources of heterogeneity into an analysis can have widespread and detrimental effects on subsequent statistical studies.We describe an approach that builds upon a linear latent variable model, in which expression levels from mixed cell populations are modeled as the weighted average of expression from different cell types. We solve these equations using quadratic programming, which efficiently identifies the globally optimal solution while preserving non-negativity of the fraction of the cells. We applied our method to various existing platforms to estimate proportions of different pure cell or tissue types and gene expression profilings of distinct phenotypes, with a focus on complex samples collected in clinical trials. We tested our methods on several well controlled benchmark data sets with known mixing fractions of pure cell or tissue types and mRNA expression profiling data from samples collected in a clinical trial. Accurate agreement between predicted and actual mixing fractions was observed. In addition, our method was able to predict mixing fractions for more than ten species of circulating cells and to provide accurate estimates for relatively rare cell types (<10% total population). Furthermore, accurate changes in leukocyte trafficking associated with Fingolomid (FTY720) treatment were identified that were consistent with previous results generated by both cell counts and flow cytometry. These data suggest that our method can solve one of the open questions regarding the analysis of complex transcriptional data: namely, how to identify the optimal mixing fractions in a given experiment.
Sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) and 5 specific high-affinity S1P receptor (S1PR) subtypes, S1P(1-5), have important regulatory functions in normal physiology and disease processes, particularly involving the immune, central nervous, and cardiovascular systems. Within the immune system, downmodulation of S1P(1) prevents the egress of B and T cells from lymph nodes (LN) into the lymphatic circulation. This is especially relevant in certain autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis (MS), in which demyelination and brain atrophy occur due to the presence of autoreactive lymphocytes within the CNS. Accordingly, S1P(1)-directed pharmacologic interventions that aim to retain these autoreactive lymphocytes in the LN and thus prevent their recirculation and subsequent infiltration into the CNS have been investigated as a means of preventing disease progression in patients with MS. Fingolimod (FTY720), a structural analog of sphingosine, is phosphorylated in vivo into fingolimod phosphate by sphingosine kinase-2. Fingolimod phosphate, which binds to S1PRs, has been shown to modulate the activity of S1P(1) in patients with MS and to reduce immune cell infiltration into the CNS, consistent with its previously established effects in animal models of the disease. Preclinical studies also suggest that fingolimod has beneficial effects within the CNS that are independent of its immune cell trafficking activity. This review highlights the normal physiologic processes modulated by S1P and S1PRs, and the therapeutic effects of S1PR modulation in the immune, central nervous, and cardiovascular systems.
Viral infections may have an important role in the precipitation or relapse of multiple sclerosis (MS) and its treatment. This review describes the normal immune response to viral infection, the possible associations between viral infections and MS therapy, and the impact of sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) receptor (S1PR) modulation with fingolimod (FTY720) on the immune responses to viral infection. The physiologic immune response to viral infection involves lymphocyte activation and control of the circulation of subsets of lymphocytes with different functions between the lymph nodes, vascular system, and tissues, under the control of the S1P/S1PR signaling mechanism. In MS, it has been postulated that viral infections may play a role in triggering MS relapses, with virus-specific T cells being responsible for the demyelinating lesions within the CNS. Fingolimod-an S1PR modulator approved for the treatment of relapsing MS in some countries-is thought to act by downmodulating lymphatic S1P subtype 1 receptors. This retains naïve T cells and central memory T cells, but not effector memory T cells, within the lymph nodes and prevents their circulation to the CNS. Evidence from infection models supports that the selective effects of fingolimod on T cell subsets allows key immune responses to be preserved during therapy. However, in patients, long-term observation is important as both the risk of cancer and infection is potentially increased by the use of any immunomodulatory agent.
The discovery of fingolimod (FTY720/Gilenya; Novartis), an orally active immunomodulatory drug, has opened up new approaches to the treatment of multiple sclerosis, the most common inflammatory disorder of the central nervous system. Elucidation of the effects of fingolimod--mediated by the modulation of sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) receptors--has indicated that its therapeutic activity could be due to regulation of the migration of selected lymphocyte subsets into the central nervous system and direct effects on neural cells, particularly astrocytes. An improved understanding of the biology of S1P receptors has also been gained. This article describes the discovery and development of fingolimod, which was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in September 2010 as a first-line treatment for relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis, thereby becoming the first oral disease-modifying therapy to be approved for multiple sclerosis in the United States.
Helicobacter pylori is a human gastric pathogen associated with gastric and duodenal ulcers as well as gastric cancer. Mounting evidence suggests this pathogens motility is prerequisite for successful colonization of human gastric tissues. Here, we isolated an H. pylori G27 HP0518 mutant exhibiting altered motility in comparison to its parental strain. We show that the mutants modulated motility is linked to increased levels of O-linked glycosylation on flagellin A (FlaA) protein. Recombinant HP0518 protein decreased glycosylation levels of H. pylori flagellin in vitro, indicating that HP0518 functions in deglycosylation of FlaA protein. Furthermore, mass spectrometric analysis revealed increased glycosylation of HP0518 FlaA was due to a change in pseudaminic acid (Pse) levels on FlaA; HP0518 mutant-derived flagellin contained approximately threefold more Pse than the parental strain. Further phenotypic and molecular characterization demonstrated that the hyper-motile HP0518 mutant exhibits superior colonization capabilities and subsequently triggers enhanced CagA phosphorylation and NF-?B activation in AGS cells. Our study shows that HP0518 is involved in the deglycosylation of flagellin, thereby regulating pathogen motility. These findings corroborate the prominent function of H. pylori flagella in pathogen-host cell interactions and modulation of host cell responses, likely influencing the pathogenesis process.
Angiogenesis is a common finding in chronic inflammatory diseases; however, its role in multiple sclerosis (MS) is unclear. Central nervous system lesions from both MS and experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), the animal model of MS, contain T cells, macrophages and activated glia, which can produce pro-angiogenic factors. Previous EAE studies have demonstrated an increase in blood vessels, but differences between the different phases of disease have not been reported. Therefore we examined angiogenic promoting factors in MS and EAE lesions to determine if there were changes in blood vessel density at different stages of EAE.
Certain bacterial adhesins appear to promote a pathogens extracellular lifestyle rather than its entry into host cells. However, little is known about the stimuli elicited upon such pathogen host-cell interactions. Here, we report that type IV pili (Tfp)-producing Neisseria gonorrhoeae (P(+)GC) induces an immediate recruitment of caveolin-1 (Cav1) in the host cell, which subsequently prevents bacterial internalization by triggering cytoskeletal rearrangements via downstream phosphotyrosine signaling. A broad and unbiased analysis of potential interaction partners for tyrosine-phosphorylated Cav1 revealed a direct interaction with the Rho-family guanine nucleotide exchange factor Vav2. Both Vav2 and its substrate, the small GTPase RhoA, were found to play a direct role in the Cav1-mediated prevention of bacterial uptake. Our findings, which have been extended to enteropathogenic Escherichia coli, highlight how Tfp-producing bacteria avoid host cell uptake. Further, our data establish a mechanistic link between Cav1 phosphorylation and pathogen-induced cytoskeleton reorganization and advance our understanding of caveolin function.
Prostate cancer (PCa) is the second leading cause of male cancer deaths in the Western world. Mounting evidence has revealed that chronic inflammation can be an important initiating factor of PCa. Recent work has detected the anaerobic Gram-positive bacterium Propionibacterium acnes in cancerous prostates, but with wide-ranging detection rates. Here, using in situ immunofluorescence (ISIF), P. acnes was found in 58 out of 71 (81.7%) tested cancerous prostate tissue samples, but was absent from healthy prostate tissues (20 samples) and other cancerous tissue biopsies (59 mamma carcinoma samples). Live P. acnes bacteria were isolated from cancerous prostates and cocultured with the prostate epithelial cell line RWPE1. Microarray analysis showed that the host cell responded to P. acnes with a strong multifaceted inflammatory response. Active secretion of cytokines and chemokines, such as IL-6 and IL-8, from infected cells was confirmed. The host cell response was likely mediated by the transcriptional factors NF-?B and STAT3, which were both activated upon P. acnes infection. The P. acnes-induced host cell response also included the activation of the COX2-prostaglandin, and the plasminogen-matrix metalloproteinase pathways. Long-term exposure to P. acnes altered cell proliferation, and enabled anchorage-independent growth of infected epithelial cells, thus initiating cellular transformation. Our results suggest that P. acnes infection could be a contributing factor to the initiation or progression of PCa.
The immune mechanisms that orchestrate protection against tuberculosis as a result of BCG vaccination are not fully understood. We used the immunomodulatory properties of fingolimod (FTY720) treatment to test whether the lung-resident memory T lymphocytes generated by BCG vaccination were sufficient to maintain immunity against challenge infection with mycobacteria (BCG). Mice were given daily fingolimod treatment, starting either immediately before s.c. BCG vaccination or during subsequent BCG i.n. challenge, to prevent LN effector and memory lymphocytes from entering the periphery either during priming or challenge, respectively. Treatment with fingolimod during vaccination reduced vaccine-mediated protection against subsequent infection. By contrast, BCG-vaccinated mice were protected when fingolimod was given during the infectious challenge, suggesting that memory lymphocytes that migrate to the lung following vaccination are sufficient for protection. Notably, the antigen-reactive IFN-gamma or multicytokine-producing CD4(+) T cells present in the lung when fingolimod was given during BCG challenge did not correlate with protection; however, expression of MHC class II on macrophages isolated from the lungs post BCG challenge was increased in the protected mice. We conclude that protection conferred by BCG vaccination is dependent on memory lymphocytes retained in the lung, although IFN-gamma production by this population is not correlated with vaccine-mediated protection.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease in which patients develop autoantibodies to DNA, histones, and often to neutrophil proteins. These form immune complexes that are pathogenic and may cause lupus nephritis. In SLE patients, infections can initiate flares and are a major cause of mortality. Neutrophils respond to infections and release extracellular traps (NETs), which are antimicrobial and are made of DNA, histones, and neutrophil proteins. The timely removal of NETs may be crucial for tissue homeostasis to avoid presentation of self-antigens. We tested the hypothesis that SLE patients cannot clear NETs, contributing to the pathogenesis of lupus nephritis. Here we show that serum endonuclease DNase1 is essential for disassembly of NETs. Interestingly, a subset of SLE patients sera degraded NETs poorly. Two mechanisms caused this impaired NET degradation: (i) the presence of DNase1 inhibitors or (ii) anti-NET antibodies prevented DNase1 access to NETs. Impairment of DNase1 function and failure to dismantle NETs correlated with kidney involvement. Hence, identification of SLE patients who cannot dismantle NETs might be a useful indicator of renal involvement. Moreover, NETs might represent a therapeutic target in SLE.
The sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) receptor agonist fingolimod (FTY720), that has shown efficacy in advanced multiple sclerosis clinical trials, decreases reperfusion injury in heart, liver, and kidney. We therefore tested the therapeutic effects of fingolimod in several rodent models of focal cerebral ischemia. To assess the translational significance of these findings, we asked whether fingolimod improved long-term behavioral outcomes, whether delayed treatment was still effective, and whether neuroprotection can be obtained in a second species.
The cross talk between host and pathogen starts with recognition of bacterial signatures through pattern recognition receptors (PRRs), which mobilize downstream signaling cascades. We investigated the role of the cytosolic adaptor caspase recruitment domain family, member 9 (CARD9) in tuberculosis. This adaptor was critical for full activation of innate immunity by converging signals downstream of multiple PRRs. Card9(-/-) mice succumbed early after aerosol infection, with higher mycobacterial burden, pyogranulomatous pneumonia, accelerated granulocyte recruitment, and higher abundance of proinflammatory cytokines and granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) in serum and lung. Neutralization of G-CSF and neutrophil depletion significantly prolonged survival, indicating that an exacerbated systemic inflammatory disease triggered lethality of Card9(-/-) mice. CARD9 deficiency had no apparent effect on T cell responses, but a marked impact on the hematopoietic compartment. Card9(-/-) granulocytes failed to produce IL-10 after Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection, suggesting that an absent antiinflammatory feedback loop accounted for granulocyte-dominated pathology, uncontrolled bacterial replication, and, ultimately, death of infected Card9(-/-) mice. Our data provide evidence that deregulated innate responses trigger excessive lung inflammation and demonstrate a pivotal role of CARD9 signaling in autonomous innate host defense against tuberculosis.
Neutrophil granulocytes are the most abundant group of leukocytes in the peripheral blood. As professional phagocytes, they engulf bacteria and kill them intracellularly when their antimicrobial granules fuse with the phagosome. We found that neutrophils have an additional way of killing microorganisms: upon activation, they release granule proteins and chromatin that together form extracellular fibers that bind pathogens. These novel structures, or Neutrophil Extracellular Traps (NETs), degrade virulence factors and kill bacteria, fungi and parasites. The structural backbone of NETs is DNA, and they are quickly degraded in the presence of DNases. Thus, bacteria expressing DNases are more virulent. Using correlative microscopy combining TEM, SEM, immunofluorescence and live cell imaging techniques, we could show that upon stimulation, the nuclei of neutrophils lose their shape and the eu- and heterochromatin homogenize. Later, the nuclear envelope and the granule membranes disintegrate allowing the mixing of NET components. Finally, the NETs are released as the cell membrane breaks. This cell death program (NETosis) is distinct from apoptosis and necrosis and depends on the generation of Reactive Oxygen Species by NADPH oxidase. Neutrophil extracellular traps are abundant at sites of acute inflammation. NETs appear to be a form of innate immune response that bind microorganisms, prevent them from spreading, and ensure a high local concentration of antimicrobial agents to degrade virulence factors and kill pathogens thus allowing neutrophils to fulfill their antimicrobial function even beyond their life span. There is increasing evidence, however, that NETs are also involved in diseases that range from auto-immune syndromes to infertility. We describe methods to isolate Neutrophil Granulocytes from peripheral human blood and stimulate them to form NETs. Also we include protocols to visualize the NETs in light and electron microscopy.
Alpha-galactosylceramide (alpha-GalCer) activates invariant (i)NKT cells, which in turn stimulate immunocompetent cells. Although activation of iNKT cells appears critical for regulation of immune responses, it remains elusive whether protection against intracellular bacteria can be induced by alpha-GalCer. Here, we show that alpha-GalCer treatment ameliorates murine listeriosis, and inhibits inflammation following Listeria monocytogenes infection. Liver infiltration of Gr-1+ cells and gamma/delta T cells was accelerated by alpha-GalCer treatment. Gr-1+ cell and gamma/delta T-cell depletion exacerbated listeriosis in alpha-GalCer-treated mice, and this effect was more pronounced after depletion of Gr-1+ cells than that of gamma/delta T cells. Although GM-CSF and IL-17 were secreted by NKT cells after alpha-GalCer treatment, liver infiltration of Gr-1+ cells was not prevented by neutralizing mAb. In parallel to the numerical increase of CD11b+Gr-1+ cells in the liver following alpha-GalCer treatment, CD11b-Gr-1+ cells were numerically reduced in the bone marrow. In addition, respiratory burst in Gr-1+ cells was enhanced by alpha-GalCer treatment. Our results indicate that alpha-GalCer-induced antibacterial immunity is caused, in part, by accelerated infiltration of Gr-1+ cells and to a lesser degree of gamma/delta T cells into the liver. We also suggest that the infiltration of Gr-1+ cells is caused by an accelerated supply from the bone marrow.
Migration to intestinal mucosa putatively depends on local activation because gastrointestinal lymphoid tissue induces expression of intestinal homing molecules, whereas skin-draining lymph nodes do not. This paradigm is difficult to reconcile with reports of intestinal T cell responses after alternative routes of immunization. We reconcile this discrepancy by demonstrating that activation within spleen results in intermediate induction of homing potential to the intestinal mucosa. We further demonstrate that memory T cells within small intestine epithelium do not routinely recirculate with memory T cells in other tissues, and we provide evidence that homing is similarly dynamic in humans after subcutaneous live yellow fever vaccine immunization. These data explain why systemic immunization routes induce local cell-mediated immunity within the intestine and indicate that this tissue must be seeded with memory T cell precursors shortly after activation.
Blood neutrophils provide the first line of defense against pathogens but have also been implicated in thrombotic processes. This dual function of neutrophils could reflect an evolutionarily conserved association between blood coagulation and antimicrobial defense, although the molecular determinants and in vivo significance of this association remain unclear. Here we show that major microbicidal effectors of neutrophils, the serine proteases neutrophil elastase and cathepsin G, together with externalized nucleosomes, promote coagulation and intravascular thrombus growth in vivo. The serine proteases and extracellular nucleosomes enhance tissue factor- and factor XII-dependent coagulation in a process involving local proteolysis of the coagulation suppressor tissue factor pathway inhibitor. During systemic infection, activation of coagulation fosters compartmentalization of bacteria in liver microvessels and reduces bacterial invasion into tissue. In the absence of a pathogen challenge, neutrophil-derived serine proteases and nucleosomes can contribute to large-vessel thrombosis, the main trigger of myocardial infarction and stroke. The ability of coagulation to suppress pathogen dissemination indicates that microvessel thrombosis represents a physiological tool of host defense.
FTY720 (fingolimod) is a first-in-class sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) receptor modulator that was highly effective in Phase II clinical trials for Multiple Sclerosis (MS). FTY720 is phosphorylated in vivo by sphingosine kinase-2 to form the active moiety FTY720-phosphate that binds to four of the five G protein-coupled S1P receptor subtypes. Studies using conditional S1P1 receptor-deficient and sphingosine kinase-deficient mice showed that the egress of lymphocytes from lymph nodes requires signalling of lymphocytic S1P1 receptors by the endogenous ligand S1P. The S1P mimetic FTY720-phosphate causes internalization and degradation of cell membrane-expressed S1P1, thereby antagonizing S1P action at the receptor. In models of human MS and demyelinating polyneuropathies, functional antagonism of lymphocytic S1P1 slows S1P-driven egress of lymphocytes from lymph nodes, thereby reducing the numbers of autoaggressive TH17 cells that recirculate via lymph and blood to the central nervous system and the sciatic/ischiatic nerves. Based on its lipophilic nature, FTY720 crosses the blood-brain barrier, and ongoing experiments suggest that the drug also down-modulates S1P1 in neural cells/astrocytes to reduce astrogliosis, a phenomenon associated with neurodegeneration in MS. This may help restore gap-junctional communication of astrocytes with neurons and cells of the blood-brain barrier. Additional effects may result from (down-) modulation of S1P3 in astrocytes and of S1P1 and S1P5 in oligodendrocytes. In conclusion, FTY720 may act through immune-based and central mechanisms to reduce inflammation and support structural restoration of the central nervous system parenchyma. Beyond the autoimmune indications, very recent studies suggest that short-term, low-dose administration of FTY720 could help treat chronic (viral) infections. Differential effects of the drug on the trafficking of naïve, central memory and effector memory T cell subsets are discussed.
Chronic granulomatous disease (CGD) patients have impaired nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH) oxidase function, resulting in poor antimicrobial activity of neutrophils, including the inability to generate neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs). Invasive aspergillosis is the leading cause of death in patients with CGD; it is unclear how neutrophils control Aspergillus species in healthy persons. The aim of this study was to determine whether gene therapy restores NET formation in CGD by complementation of NADPH oxidase function, and whether NETs have antimicrobial activity against Aspergillus nidulans. Here we show that reconstitution of NET formation by gene therapy in a patient with CGD restores neutrophil elimination of A nidulans conidia and hyphae and is associated with rapid cure of preexisting therapy refractory invasive pulmonary aspergillosis, underlining the role of functional NADPH oxidase in NET formation and antifungal activity.
Neutrophils are the first line of defense at the site of an infection. They encounter and kill microbes intracellularly upon phagocytosis or extracellularly by degranulation of antimicrobial proteins and the release of Neutrophil Extracellular Traps (NETs). NETs were shown to ensnare and kill microbes. However, their complete protein composition and the antimicrobial mechanism are not well understood. Using a proteomic approach, we identified 24 NET-associated proteins. Quantitative analysis of these proteins and high resolution electron microscopy showed that NETs consist of modified nucleosomes and a stringent selection of other proteins. In contrast to previous results, we found several NET proteins that are cytoplasmic in unstimulated neutrophils. We demonstrated that of those proteins, the antimicrobial heterodimer calprotectin is released in NETs as the major antifungal component. Absence of calprotectin in NETs resulted in complete loss of antifungal activity in vitro. Analysis of three different Candida albicans in vivo infection models indicated that NET formation is a hitherto unrecognized route of calprotectin release. By comparing wild-type and calprotectin-deficient animals we found that calprotectin is crucial for the clearance of infection. Taken together, the present investigations confirmed the antifungal activity of calprotectin in vitro and, moreover, demonstrated that it contributes to effective host defense against C. albicans in vivo. We showed for the first time that a proportion of calprotectin is bound to NETs in vitro and in vivo.
There is a pressing need for immunosuppressants with an improved safety profile. The search for novel approaches to blocking T-cell activation led to the development of the selective protein kinase C (PKC) inhibitor AEB071 (sotrastaurin). In cell-free kinase assays AEB071 inhibited PKC, with K(i) values in the subnanomolar to low nanomolar range. Upon T-cell stimulation, AEB071 markedly inhibited in situ PKC catalytic activity and selectively affected both the canonical nuclear factor-kappaB and nuclear factor of activated T cells (but not activator protein-1) transactivation pathways. In primary human and mouse T cells, AEB071 treatment effectively abrogated at low nanomolar concentration markers of early T-cell activation, such as interleukin-2 secretion and CD25 expression. Accordingly, the CD3/CD28 antibody- and alloantigen-induced T-cell proliferation responses were potently inhibited by AEB071 in the absence of nonspecific antiproliferative effects. Unlike former PKC inhibitors, AEB071 did not enhance apoptosis of murine T-cell blasts in a model of activation-induced cell death. Furthermore, AEB071 markedly inhibited lymphocyte function-associated antigen-1-mediated T-cell adhesion at nanomolar concentrations. The mode of action of AEB071 is different from that of calcineurin inhibitors, and AEB071 and cyclosporine A seem to have complementary effects on T-cell signaling pathways.
Small-vessel vasculitis (SVV) is a chronic autoinflammatory condition linked to antineutrophil cytoplasm autoantibodies (ANCAs). Here we show that chromatin fibers, so-called neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs), are released by ANCA-stimulated neutrophils and contain the targeted autoantigens proteinase-3 (PR3) and myeloperoxidase (MPO). Deposition of NETs in inflamed kidneys and circulating MPO-DNA complexes suggest that NET formation triggers vasculitis and promotes the autoimmune response against neutrophil components in individuals with SVV.
The bacterial PorB porin, an ATP-binding beta-barrel protein of pathogenic Neisseria gonorrhoeae, triggers host cell apoptosis by an unknown mechanism. PorB is targeted to and imported by host cell mitochondria, causing the breakdown of the mitochondrial membrane potential (DeltaPsi(m)). Here, we show that PorB induces the condensation of the mitochondrial matrix and the loss of cristae structures, sensitizing cells to the induction of apoptosis via signaling pathways activated by BH3-only proteins. PorB is imported into mitochondria through the general translocase TOM but, unexpectedly, is not recognized by the SAM sorting machinery, usually required for the assembly of beta-barrel proteins in the mitochondrial outer membrane. PorB integrates into the mitochondrial inner membrane, leading to the breakdown of DeltaPsi(m). The PorB channel is regulated by nucleotides and an isogenic PorB mutant defective in ATP-binding failed to induce DeltaPsi(m) loss and apoptosis, demonstrating that dissipation of DeltaPsi(m) is a requirement for cell death caused by neisserial infection.
Many intracellular pathogens that replicate in special membrane bound compartments exploit cellular trafficking pathways by targeting small GTPases, including Rab proteins. Members of the Chlamydiaceae recruit a subset of Rab proteins to their inclusions, but the significance of these interactions is uncertain. Using RNA interference, we identified Rab6 and Rab11 as important regulators of Chlamydia infections. Depletion of either Rab6 or Rab11, but not the other Rab proteins tested, decreased the formation of infectious particles. We further examined the interplay between these Rab proteins and the Golgi matrix components golgin-84 and p115 with regard to Chlamydia-induced Golgi fragmentation. Silencing of the Rab proteins blocked Chlamydia-induced and golgin-84 knockdown-stimulated Golgi disruption, whereas Golgi fragmentation was unaffected in p115 depleted cells. Interestingly, p115-induced Golgi fragmentation could rescue Chlamydia propagation in Rab6 and Rab11 knockdown cells. Furthermore, transport of nutrients to Chlamydia, as monitored by BODIPY-Ceramide, was inhibited by Rab6 and Rab11 knockdown. Taken together, our results demonstrate that Rab6 and Rab11 are key regulators of Golgi stability and further support the notion that Chlamydia subverts Golgi structure to enhance its intracellular development.
The obligate intracellular bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis survives and replicates within a membrane-bound vacuole, termed the inclusion, which intercepts host exocytic pathways to obtain nutrients. Like many other intracellular pathogens, C. trachomatis has a marked requirement for host cell lipids, such as sphingolipids and cholesterol, produced in the endoplasmic reticulum and the Golgi apparatus. However, the mechanisms by which intracellular pathogens acquire host cell lipids are not well understood. In particular, no host cell protein responsible for transporting Golgi-derived lipids to the chlamydial inclusions has yet been identified. Here we show that Chlamydia infection in human epithelial cells induces Golgi fragmentation to generate Golgi ministacks surrounding the bacterial inclusion. Ministack formation is triggered by the proteolytic cleavage of the Golgi matrix protein golgin-84. Inhibition of golgin-84 truncation prevents Golgi fragmentation, causing a block in lipid acquisition and maturation of C. trachomatis. Golgi fragmentation by means of RNA-interference-mediated knockdown of distinct Golgi matrix proteins before infection enhances bacterial maturation. Our data functionally connect bacteria-induced golgin-84 cleavage, Golgi ministack formation, lipid acquisition and intracellular pathogen growth. We show that C. trachomatis subverts the structure and function of an entire host cell organelle for its own advantage.
Various methods have been used to identify activated T cells such as binding of MHC tetramers and expression of cell surface markers in addition to cytokine-based assays. In contrast to these published methods, we here describe a strategy to identify T cells that respond to any antigen and track the fate of these activated T cells. We constructed a retroviral double-reporter construct with enhanced green fluorescence protein (EGFP) and a far-red fluorescent protein from Heteractis crispa (HcRed). LTR-driven EGFP expression was used to enrich and identify transduced cells, while HcRed expression is driven by the CD40Ligand (CD40L) promoter, which is inducible and enables the identification and cell fate tracing of T cells that have responded to infection/inflammation. Pax5 deficient pro-B cells that can give rise to different hematopoietic cells like T cells, were retrovirally transduced with this double-reporter cassette and were used to reconstitute the T cell pool in RAG1 deficient mice that lack T and B cells. By using flow cytometry and histology, we identified activated T cells that had developed from Pax5 deficient pro-B cells and responded to infection with the bacterial pathogen Listeria monocytogenes. Microscopic examination of organ sections allowed visual identification of HcRed-expressing cells. To further characterize the immune response to a given stimuli, this strategy can be easily adapted to identify other cells of the hematopoietic system that respond to infection/inflammation. This can be achieved by using an inducible reporter, choosing the appropriate promoter, and reconstituting mice lacking cells of interest by injecting gene-modified Pax5 deficient pro-B cells.
Neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) play an important role in innate immunity to microbial infections. NETs have been described in several species, but the molecular details of NET formation and their role in infection has not been addressed, partly because we lack optimal experimental models. Here we describe tools to investigate NET formation in neutrophils isolated from mice. Upon in vitro stimulation of wild-type mouse neutrophils with PMA, we analyzed 3 important steps in the process of NET formation: reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, NET cell death and NET release. As expected, neutrophils from NADPH oxidase-deficient mice failed to produce ROS and did not die nor release NETs upon stimulation. We found that neutrophils from several mouse strains produced NETs with different efficiency and that NET formation correlated with the amount of ROS produced. Activation with Candida albicans also resulted in ROS production and NET cell death. The hyphal form of this fungus induced NETs more effectively than the yeast form. With this work, we provide tools to study in vitro NET assembly in the mouse system.
Bcl-2 family proteins including the pro-apoptotic BH3-only proteins are central regulators of apoptotic cell death. Here we show by a focused siRNA miniscreen that the synergistic action of the BH3-only proteins Bim and Bmf is required for apoptosis induced by infection with Neisseria gonorrhoeae (Ngo). While Bim and Bmf were associated with the cytoskeleton of healthy cells, they both were released upon Ngo infection. Loss of Bim and Bmf from the cytoskeleton fraction required the activation of Jun-N-terminal kinase-1 (JNK-1), which in turn depended on Rac-1. Depletion and inhibition of Rac-1, JNK-1, Bim, or Bmf prevented the activation of Bak and Bax and the subsequent activation of caspases. Apoptosis could be reconstituted in Bim-depleted and Bmf-depleted cells by additional silencing of antiapoptotic Mcl-1 and Bcl-X(L), respectively. Our data indicate a synergistic role for both cytoskeletal-associated BH3-only proteins, Bim, and Bmf, in an apoptotic pathway leading to the clearance of Ngo-infected cells.
The small GTPase Rab5 is a key regulator of endosome/phagosome maturation and in intravesicular infections marks a phagosome stage at which decisions over pathogen replication or destruction are integrated. It is currently unclear whether Leishmania-infected phagosomes uniformly pass through a Rab5(+) stage on their intracellular path to compartments with late endosomal/early lysosomal characteristics. Differences in routes and final compartments could have consequences for accessibility to antileishmanial drugs. Here, we generated a unique gfp-rab5 transgenic mouse model to visualize Rab5 recruitment to early parasite-containing phagosomes in primary host cells. Using real-time fluorescence imaging of phagosomes carrying Leishmania mexicana, we determined that parasite-infested phagosomes follow a uniform sequence of transient Rab5 recruitment. Residence in Rab5(+) compartments was much shorter compared with phagosomes harboring latex beads. Furthermore, a comparative analysis of parasite life-cycle stages and mutants deficient in lpg1, the gene encoding the enzyme required for synthesis of the dominant surface lipophosphoglycan, indicated that parasite surface ligands and host cell receptors modulate pathogen residence times in Rab5(+) phagosomes, but, as far as tested, had no significant effect on intracellular L. mexicana survival or replication.
Neutrophil Extracellular Traps (NETs) consist of decondensed chromatin studded with granular and some cytoplasmic proteins. They are formed by activated neutrophil granulocytes, also called polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMN) as the result of an active cell death program, named NETosis. NETosis can be induced by a wide range of stimuli including coculture of neutrophils with pathogens (bacteria, fungi, parasites, virus particles), activated platelets, or pathogen components. The first step of the NETotic cascade is stimulation of one or several receptors followed by activation of the Raf/MEK/ERK pathway that culminates in the assembly of the multimeric NADPH oxidase complex and the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Later, intracellular membranes disintegrate, the granular protein Neutrophil Elastase enters the nucleus and processes core histones that also get hypercitrullinated. This leads to decondensation and mobilization of chromatin. The amount of NET formation varies with the degree of stimulation, and this is dependent on the type and concentration of the stimulus. NETs can be quantified using various methods including fluorescence microscopy or measuring DNA release. Each of these methods have specific drawbacks: analysis of fluorescence microscopy is prone to subjective variations, and DNA release does not differentiate between DNA that has been released by NETosis or by other forms of cell death. Here we present a protocol to semi-automatically quantify NET formation. It relies on the observation that anti-chromatin antibodies bind more readily to decondensed chromatin present in the nuclei of cells undergoing NETosis and in the NETs. Relating the fluorescence signals of the anti-chromatin antibody to the signals of a DNA-binding dye allows the automatic calculation of the percentage of netting neutrophils. This method does not require sophisticated microscopic equipment, and the images are quantified with a public-domain software package.
Lymphocyte trafficking is critically regulated by the Sphingosine 1-phosphate receptor-1 (S1P(1)), a G protein-coupled receptor that has been highlighted as a promising therapeutic target in autoimmunity. Fingolimod (FTY720, Gilenya) is a S1P(1) receptor agonist that has recently been approved for the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS). Here, we report the discovery of NIBR-0213, a potent and selective S1P(1) antagonist that induces long-lasting reduction of peripheral blood lymphocyte counts after oral dosing. NIBR-0213 showed comparable therapeutic efficacy to fingolimod in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), a model of human MS. These data provide convincing evidence that S1P(1) antagonists are effective in EAE. In addition, the profile of NIBR-0213 makes it an attractive candidate to further study the consequences of S1P(1) receptor antagonism and to differentiate the effects from those of S1P(1) agonists.
During angiogenesis, nascent vascular sprouts fuse to form vascular networks, enabling efficient circulation. Mechanisms that stabilize the vascular plexus are not well understood. Sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) is a blood-borne lipid mediator implicated in the regulation of vascular and immune systems. Here we describe a mechanism by which the G protein-coupled S1P receptor-1 (S1P1) stabilizes the primary vascular network. A gradient of S1P1 expression from the mature regions of the vascular network to the growing vascular front was observed. In the absence of endothelial S1P1, adherens junctions are destabilized, barrier function is breached, and flow is perturbed, resulting in abnormal vascular hypersprouting. Interestingly, S1P1 responds to S1P as well as laminar shear stress to transduce flow-mediated signaling in endothelial cells both in vitro and in vivo. These data demonstrate that blood flow and circulating S1P activate endothelial S1P1 to stabilize blood vessels in development and homeostasis.
Neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) are made of processed chromatin bound to granular and selected cytoplasmic proteins. NETs are released by white blood cells called neutrophils, maybe as a last resort, to control microbial infections. This release of chromatin is the result of a unique form of cell death, dubbed "NETosis." Here we review our understanding of how NETs are made, their function in infections and as danger signals, and their emerging importance in autoimmunity and coagulation.
The blood–brain barrier (BBB) and the environment of the central nervous system (CNS) guard the nervous tissue from peripheral immune cells. In the autoimmune disease multiple sclerosis, myelin-reactive T-cell blasts are thought to transgress the BBB and create a pro-inflammatory environment in the CNS, thereby making possible a second autoimmune attack that starts from the leptomeningeal vessels and progresses into the parenchyma. Using a Lewis rat model of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, we show here that contrary to the expectations of this concept, T-cell blasts do not efficiently enter the CNS and are not required to prepare the BBB for immune-cell recruitment. Instead, intravenously transferred T-cell blasts gain the capacity to enter the CNS after residing transiently within the lung tissues. Inside the lung tissues, they move along and within the airways to bronchus-associated lymphoid tissues and lung-draining mediastinal lymph nodes before they enter the blood circulation from where they reach the CNS. Effector T cells transferred directly into the airways showed a similar migratory pattern and retained their full pathogenicity. On their way the T cells fundamentally reprogrammed their gene-expression profile, characterized by downregulation of their activation program and upregulation of cellular locomotion molecules together with chemokine and adhesion receptors. The adhesion receptors include ninjurin 1, which participates in T-cell intravascular crawling on cerebral blood vessels. We detected that the lung constitutes a niche not only for activated T cells but also for resting myelin-reactive memory T cells. After local stimulation in the lung, these cells strongly proliferate and, after assuming migratory properties, enter the CNS and induce paralytic disease. The lung could therefore contribute to the activation of potentially autoaggressive T cells and their transition to a migratory mode as a prerequisite to entering their target tissues and inducing autoimmune disease.
The contribution of the human microbiota to health and disease is poorly understood. Propionibacterium acnes is a prominent member of the skin microbiota, but is also associated with acne vulgaris. This bacterium has gained recent attention as a potential opportunistic pathogen at non-skin infection sites due to its association with chronic pathologies and its isolation from diseased prostates. We performed comparative global-transcriptional analyses for P.?acnes infection of keratinocytes and prostate cells. P.?acnes induced an acute, transient transcriptional inflammatory response in keratinocytes, whereas this response was delayed and sustained in prostate cells. We found that P.?acnes invaded prostate epithelial cells, but not keratinocytes, and was detectable intracellularly 7 days post infection. Further characterization of the host cell response to infection revealed that vimentin was a key determinant for P.?acnes invasion in prostate cells. siRNA-mediated knock-down of vimentin in prostate cellsattenuated bacterial invasion and the inflammatory response to infection. We conclude that host cell tropism, which may depend on the host protein vimentin, is relevant for P.?acnes invasion and in part determines its sustained inflammatory capacity and persistence of infection.
Many prion diseases are peripherally acquired (e.g., orally or via lesions to skin or mucous membranes). After peripheral exposure, prions replicate first upon follicular dendritic cells (FDC) in the draining lymphoid tissue before infecting the brain. However, after replication upon FDC within the draining lymphoid tissue, prions are subsequently propagated to most nondraining secondary lymphoid organs (SLO), including the spleen, by a previously underdetermined mechanism. The germinal centers in which FDC are situated produce a population of B cells that can recirculate between SLO. Therefore, we reasoned that B cells were ideal candidates by which prion dissemination between SLO may occur. Sphingosine 1-phosphate receptor (S1PR)1 stimulation controls the egress of T and B cells from SLO. S1PR1 signaling blockade sequesters lymphocytes within SLO, resulting in lymphopenia in the blood and lymph. We show that, in mice treated with the S1PR modulator FTY720 or with S1PR1 deficiency restricted to B cells, the dissemination of prions from the draining lymph node to nondraining SLO is blocked. These data suggest that B cells interacting with and acquiring surface proteins from FDC and recirculating between SLO via the blood and lymph mediate the initial propagation of prions from the draining lymphoid tissue to peripheral tissues.
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a major cause of cardiovascular death. The sequence of events that promote DVT remains obscure, largely as a result of the lack of an appropriate rodent model. We describe a novel mouse model of DVT which reproduces a frequent trigger and resembles the time course, histological features, and clinical presentation of DVT in humans. We demonstrate by intravital two-photon and epifluorescence microscopy that blood monocytes and neutrophils crawling along and adhering to the venous endothelium provide the initiating stimulus for DVT development. Using conditional mutants and bone marrow chimeras, we show that intravascular activation of the extrinsic pathway of coagulation via tissue factor (TF) derived from myeloid leukocytes causes the extensive intraluminal fibrin formation characteristic of DVT. We demonstrate that thrombus-resident neutrophils are indispensable for subsequent DVT propagation by binding factor XII (FXII) and by supporting its activation through the release of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs). Correspondingly, neutropenia, genetic ablation of FXII, or disintegration of NETs each confers protection against DVT amplification. Platelets associate with innate immune cells via glycoprotein Ib? and contribute to DVT progression by promoting leukocyte recruitment and stimulating neutrophil-dependent coagulation. Hence, we identified a cross talk between monocytes, neutrophils, and platelets responsible for the initiation and amplification of DVT and for inducing its unique clinical features.
The importance of pathogen-induced host cell remodelling has been well established for red blood cell infection by the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. Exported parasite-encoded proteins, which often possess a signature motif, termed Plasmodium export element (PEXEL) or host-targeting (HT) signal, are critical for the extensive red blood cell modifications. To what extent remodelling of erythrocyte membranes also occurs in non-primate hosts and whether it is in fact a hallmark of all mammalian Plasmodium parasites remains elusive. Here we characterize a novel Plasmodium berghei PEXEL/HT-containing protein, which we term IBIS1. Temporal expression and spatial localization determined by fluorescent tagging revealed the presence of IBIS1 at the parasite/host interface during both liver and blood stages of infection. Targeted deletion of the IBIS1 protein revealed a mild impairment of intra-erythrocytic growth indicating a role for these structures in the rapid expansion of the parasite population in the blood in vivo. In red blood cells, the protein localizes to dynamic, punctate structures external to the parasite. Biochemical and microscopic data revealed that these intra-erythrocytic P. berghei-induced structures (IBIS) are membranous indicating that P. berghei, like P. falciparum, creates an intracellular membranous network in infected red blood cells.
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