Infection of small laboratory animals by Punta Toro virus (PTV), family Bunyaviridae, genus Phlebovirus, is a model for the study of the human pathogen Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV). We have identified inbred mouse strains with significant differences in host response to the Adames strain of PTV. Nine inbred strains of mice representing major branches in the Mus musculus phylogeny were inoculated subcutaneously with a high dose of PTV in survival experiments. Two inbred strains of mice, NZW/LacJ and 129S1/SvImJ, died ~4 days after PTV infection, whereas 7 other strains survived the challenge and showed no clinical signs of disease. Histologically, 129S1/SvImJ mice showed massive hepatocellular necrosis and had additional lesions in lung, brain, and spleen, whereas NZW/LacJ mice had mild piecemeal hepatocellular necrosis. PTV viral loads in the livers of infected mice were determined by reverse transcriptase quantitative PCR. Inbred mice from strains that showed clinical signs and succumbed to PTV infection had higher liver viral loads than did mice of resistant strains. Hybrid F1 mice were generated by crossing susceptible 129S1 and resistant FVB/N mice and tested for susceptibility. The hybrid F1 mice showed significantly higher viral loads in the liver than the resistant parental FVB/N mice, suggesting that susceptibility is dominant. These findings will enable an unbiased genetic approach to identify host genes mediating susceptibility to PTV.
Bunyaviridae; phlebovirus; murine
To identify the gene responsible for the quantitative trait locus (QTL) Hdlq14, a high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL) QTL previously identified in a C57BL/6J x 129S1/SvImJ cross.
Methods and Results
Hdlq14 was first confirmed as an independent QTL by detecting it in an intercross between NZB/B1NJ and NZW/LacJ, two strains that had identical genotypes at nearby QTL genes on chromosome 1. Using the bioinformatics tools of combined cross data and haplotype analysis, we narrowed this QTL from a 45 Mb, 225 -gene region to 2 genes, Farp2 and Stk25. Sequencing and expression studies showed that Farp2 had an amino acid polymorphism in an important plekstrin domain and that Stk25 had a significant expression difference between the parental strains. These two genes are immediately adjacent to each other and share the same haplotype over 45 inbred strains. The haplotype was associated with a significant difference in HDL levels among these strains.
We confirmed Hdlq14 as a separate independent QTL for HDL and narrowed the region to two genes, Farp2 and Stk25 with considerable evidence for both. Additional studies are needed to choose between these two genes or to show that both are important in determining HDL levels.
HDL; QTL; Farp2; Stk25; mouse
Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) has been identified as a receptor for lipopolysaccharide. However, the precise role of TLR4 in regulating gene expression in response to an infection caused by gram-negative bacteria has not been fully elucidated. The role of TLR4 signaling in coordinating gene expression was assessed by gene expression profiling in lung tissue in a mouse model of experimental pneumonia with a low-dose infection of Klebsiella pneumoniae. We analyzed four mouse strains: C57BL/6 mice, which are resistant to bacterial dissemination; 129/SvJ mice, which are susceptible; C3H/HeJ mice, which are susceptible and have defective TLR4 signaling; and their respective control strain, C3H/HeN (intermediate resistance). At 4 h after infection, C57BL/6 and C3H/HeN mice demonstrated the greatest number of genes, with 67 shared induced genes which were TLR4 dependent and highly associated with the resistance phenotype. These genes included cytokine and chemokine genes required for neutrophil activation or recruitment, growth factor receptors, MyD88 (a critical adaptor protein for TLR signaling), and adhesion molecules. TLR4 signaling accounted for over 74% of the gene expression in the C3H background. These data suggest that early TLR4 signaling controls the vast majority of gene expression in the lung in response to an infection caused by gram-negative bacteria and that this subsequent gene expression determines survival of the host.
Otitis Media (OM) accounts for more than 20 million clinic visits in the United States every year. Resistance to antibiotics has hampered current management of the disease. Identification of genetic factors underlying susceptibility to OM is greatly needed in order to develop alternative treatment strategies. Genetically defined inbred mouse strains offer a powerful tool for dissecting genetic and environmental factors that may lead to OM in mice. Here we report a study of middle ear function of 61 genetically diverse inbred strains of mice using tympanometry. Of the 61 inbred strains tested, the 129P1/ReJ, 129P3/J, 129S1/SvImJ, 129X1/SvJ, A/HeJ, BALB/cJ, BUB/BnJ, C57L/J, EL/SuzSeyFrkJ, FVB/NJ, I/LnJ, LP/J, NZB/BlNJ, PL/J and YBR/Ei strains exhibited tympanograms that were statistically different from other healthy strains according to parameters including middle ear pressure, volume and compliance. These differences are most likely the result of genetic factors that, when understood, will facilitate prevention and treatment of otitis media in humans. In addition, a negative correlation between age and compliance of the tympanic membrane was discovered. This is the first report to successfully use tympanometry to measure mouse middle ear function, which has been a challenge for the hearing research field because of the mouse’s tiny ear size.
tympanometry; mouse models; middle ear; otitis media
Excessive systemic exposure to fluoride (F) can lead to disturbances in bone homeostasis and dental enamel development. We have previously shown strain-specific responses to F in the development of dental fluorosis (DF) and in bone formation/mineralization. The current study was undertaken to further investigate F responsive variations in bone metabolism and to determine possible relationships with DF susceptibility. Seven-week-old male mice from FVB/NJ, C57BL/6J, C3H/HeJ, A/J, 129S1/SvImJ, AKR/J, DBA/2J, and BALB/cByJ inbred strains were exposed to NaF (0 or 50 ppm as F–) in drinking water for 60 days. Sera were collected for F, Ca, Mg, PO4, iPTH, sRANKL, and ALP levels. Bone marrow cells were subjected to ex vivo cell culture for osteoclast potential and CFU colony assays (CFU-fibroblast, CFU-osteoblast, CFU-erythrocyte/granulocyte/macrophage/megakaryocyte, CFU-granulocyte/macrophage, CFU-macrophage, and CFU-granulocyte). Femurs and vertebrae were subjected to micro-CT analyses, biomechanical testing, and F, Mg, and Ca content assays. DF was evaluated using quantitative fluorescence and clinical criteria. Strain-specific responses to F were observed for DF, serum studies, ex vivo cell culture studies, and bone quality. Among the strains, there were no patterns or significant correlations between DF severity and the actions of F on bone homeostasis (serum studies, ex vivo assays, or bone quality parameters). The genetic background continues to play a role in the actions of F on tooth enamel development and bone homeostasis. F exposure led to variable phenotypic responses between strains involving dental enamel development and bone metabolism.
Fluoride; Fluorosis; Genetics; Bone; Teeth
Toll-like receptor 4 is thought to have a primary role in host defense against Escherichia coli bladder colonization, based on mouse models of urinary tract infection using C3H/HeJ female mice. This strain carries a point mutation in the Tlr4 gene, which renders the mice unresponsive to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and thus limits the bladder inflammatory response and infection resolution. The importance of Tlr4 as the sole genetic determinant of resistance or susceptibility can be questioned, however, by the observation that C3H/HeOuJ female mice with a functional Tlr4 do not effectively resolve E. coli bladder infections. The present study further examined this inconsistency by investigating the association of Tlr4 Lpsd and Lpsn alleles with bladder infection susceptibility by using genetic crosses of C3H/HeJ mice with Tlr4 (Lpsn/Lpsn) or (Lpsn/Lpsd) mice. Heterozygous offspring of C3H/HeJ (Lpsd/Lpsd) × BALB/cAnN (Lpsn/Lpsn) mice successfully resolved bladder infections induced by a uropathogenic E. coli strain, while heterozygous mice from a C3H/HeJ (Lpsd/Lpsd) × C3H/HeOuJ (Lpsn/Lpsn) cross had severe infections. A backcross of C3H/HeJ (Lpsd/Lpsd) with (BALB/cAnN × C3H/HeJ)F1 (Lpsn/Lpsd) produced mice that were either resistant or susceptible to E. coli bladder infections and had Lpsd/Lpsd or Lpsn/Lpsd Tlr4 genotypes. The Lpsd/Lpsd or Lpsn/Lpsd genotypes were present in individual mice with unresolved bladder infections, and the Lpsd/Lpsd genotype was found in infection-resistant mice. These results indicate that at least one gene other than Tlr4 strongly influences susceptibility to E. coli bladder infections in C3H/HeJ mice.
We have previously demonstrated that mouse strains with either a functional or nonfunctional Tlr4 were not able to resolve induced Escherichia coli bladder infections and that a chromosomal site distinct from Tlr4 was associated with an inability to resolve bladder infections in C3H/HeJ mice. The present study has further investigated the relevance of Tlr4 in bladder infection resolution by defining the Tlr4 alleles present in offspring of genetic crosses of C3H/HeJ mice with infection-resistant and -susceptible inbred strains. The results of these experiments showed that mice with a normal Tlr4 on different genetic backgrounds were not able to clear E. coli bladder infections and that animals with a defective Tlr4 could successfully resolve infections. These results strongly imply the presence of a gene other than in Tlr4 as an important genetic determinant of infection resistance/susceptibility in C3H/HeJ and other inbred mouse strains used in mouse models of infectious diseases.
Bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) provokes a vigorous, generalized proinflammatory state in the infected host. Genetic regulation of this response has been localized to the Lps locus on mouse chromosome 4, through study of the C3H/HeJ and C57BL/10ScCr inbred strains. Both C3H/HeJ and C57BL/10ScCr mice are homozygous for a mutant Lps allele (Lpsd/d) that confers hyporesponsiveness to LPS challenge, and therefore exhibit natural tolerance to its lethal effects. Genetic and physical mapping of 1,345 backcross progeny segregating this mutant phenotype confined Lps to a 0.9-cM interval spanning 1.7 Mb. Three transcription units were identified within the candidate interval, including Toll-like receptor 4 (Tlr4), part of a protein family with members that have been implicated in LPS-induced cell signaling. C3H/HeJ mice have a point mutation within the coding region of the Tlr4 gene, resulting in a nonconservative substitution of a highly conserved proline by histidine at codon 712, whereas C57BL/ 10ScCr mice exhibit a deletion of Tlr4. Identification of distinct mutations involving the same gene at the Lps locus in two different hyporesponsive inbred mouse strains strongly supports the hypothesis that altered Tlr4 function is responsible for endotoxin tolerance.
lipopolysaccharide; inflammation; positional cloning; Salmonella; mice/ inbred C3H
Although the entire mouse genome has been sequenced, there remain challenges concerning the elucidation of particular complex and polymorphic genomic loci. In the murine Igh locus, different haplotypes exist in different inbred mouse strains. For example, the Ighb haplotype sequence of the Mouse Genome Project strain C57BL/6 differs considerably from the Igha haplotype of BALB/c, which has been widely used in the analyses of Ab responses. We have sequenced and annotated the 3′ half of the Igha locus of 129S1/SvImJ, covering the CH region and approximately half of the VH region. This sequence comprises 128 VH genes, of which 49 are judged to be functional. The comparison of the Igha sequence with the homologous Ighb region from C57BL/6 revealed two major expansions in the germline repertoire of Igha. In addition, we found smaller haplotype-specific differences like the duplication of five VH genes in the Igha locus. We generated a VH allele table by comparing the individual VH genes of both haplotypes. Surprisingly, the number and position of DH genes in the 129S1 strain differs not only from the sequence of C57BL/6 but also from the map published for BALB/c. Taken together, the contiguous genomic sequence of the 3′ part of the Igha locus allows a detailed view of the recent evolution of this highly dynamic locus in the mouse.
The susceptibility of inbred strains of mice to pulmonary blastomycosis was studied to derive information relevant to host resistance and genetic background. Initial studies with eight strains with various H-2 backgrounds revealed the C3H/HeJ strain to be highly susceptible and DBA/1J mice to be resistant. These observations were confirmed with various challenge inocula. These differences were not dependent on the size of the challenge, the strain of Blastomyces dermatitidis, host age, or ability of the challenge to penetrate to the lower airways. Differences between the susceptible and resistant strains in lymphocyte proliferation in vitro and delayed-type hypersensitivity in vivo after nonlethal subcutaneous infection were not demonstrated; the susceptible strain made a significantly greater antibody response to blastomyces antigens as determined by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The resistance of the C3H/HeN strain of mice, which differs from the C3H/HeJ in sensitivity to lipopolysaccharide and lacks the macrophage cytotoxicity defect of the latter, suggests that the susceptibility of C3H/HeJ mice is not related to their C3H background or the H-2 locus. As the A/HeJ strain, which also has a macrophage cytotoxicity defect, was found in this study to be the second most susceptible strain, this also suggests macrophages as the subject for further study with respect to the mechanism of genetic resistance to this infection.
Toll like receptors play an important role in lung host defense against bacterial pathogens. In this study, we investigated independent and cooperative functions of TLR4 and TLR9 in microbial clearance and systemic dissemination during Gram-negative bacterial pneumonia. To access these responses, wildtype Balb/c mice, mice with defective TLR4 signaling (TLR4lps-d), mice deficient in TLR9 (TLR9−/−) and TLR4/9 double mutant mice (TLR4lps-d/TLR9−/−) were challenged with K. pneumoniae, then time-dependent lung bacterial clearance and systemic dissemination determined. We found impaired lung bacterial clearance in TLR4 and TLR9 single mutant mice, whereas the greatest impairment in clearance was observed in TLR4lps-d/TLR9−/− double mutant mice. Early lung expression of TNF-α, IL-12, and chemokines was TLR4 dependent, while IFN-γ production and the later expression of TNF-α and IL-12 was dependent on TLR9. Classical activation of lung macrophages and maximal induction of IL-23 and IL-17 required both TLR4 and TLR9. Finally, the i.t. instillation of IL-17 partially restored anti-bacterial immunity in TLR4lps-d/TLR9−/− double mutant mice. In conclusion, our studies indicate that TLR4 and TLR9 have both non-redundant and cooperative roles in lung innate responses during Gram-negative bacterial pneumonia and are both critical for IL-17 driven antibacterial host response.
C3H/HeJ mice have an impaired ability to respond to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) due to a mutation in the gene that encodes Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4). The effect of TLR4 deficiency on host responses to endodontic infections is unknown. In the present study, we compared periapical bone destruction, sepsis, and inflammatory cytokine production in LPS-hyporesponsive C3H/HeJ and wild-type control C3H/HeOuJ mice. The mandibular first molars of both strains were subjected to pulpal exposure and infection with a mixture of four anaerobic pathogens, Prevotella intermedia, Fusobacterium nucleatum, Streptococcus intermedius, and Peptostreptococcus micros. At sacrifice on day 21, TLR4-deficient C3H/HeJ mice had significantly reduced periapical bone destruction compared to wild-type C3H/HeOuJ mice (P < 0.001). The decreased bone destruction in C3H/HeJ correlated with reduced expression of the bone resorptive cytokines interleukin 1α (IL-1α) (P < 0.01) and IL-1β (P < 0.05) as well as the proinflammatory cytokine IL-12 (P < 0.05). No significant differences were seen in the levels of gamma interferon, tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), or IL-10 between the two strains. The expression of IL-1α, IL-1β, TNF-α, IL-10, and IL-12 were all significantly reduced in vitro in macrophages from both TLR4-deficient C3H/HeJ and C57BL/10ScNCr strains, compared to wild-type controls. Notably, the responses of TLR4-deficient macrophages to both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria were similarly reduced. Neither C3H/HeJ nor C3H/HeOuJ mice exhibited orofacial abscess development or infection dissemination as determined by splenomegaly or cachexia. We conclude that intact TLR function mediates increased proinflammatory responses and bone destruction in response to mixed anaerobic infections.
The expanding set of genomics tools available for inbred mouse strains has renewed interest in phenotyping larger sets of strains. The present study aims to explore phenotypic variability among six commonly-used inbred mouse strains to both the rewarding and locomotor stimulating effects of cocaine in a place conditioning task, including several strains or substrains that have not yet been characterized for some or all of these behaviors.
C57BL/6J (B6), BALB/cJ (BALB), C3H/HeJ (C3H), DBA/2J (D2), FVB/NJ (FVB) and 129S1/SvImJ (129) mice were tested for conditioned place preference to 20 mg/kg cocaine.
Place preference was observed in most strains with the exception of D2 and 129. All strains showed a marked increase in locomotor activity in response to cocaine. In BALB mice, however, locomotor activation was context-dependent. Locomotor sensitization to repeated exposure to cocaine was most significant in 129 and D2 mice but was absent in FVB mice.
Genetic correlations suggest that no significant correlation between conditioned place preference, acute locomotor activation, and locomotor sensitization exists among these strains indicating that separate mechanisms underlie the psychomotor and rewarding effects of cocaine.
The ability of random mutagenesis techniques to annotate the mammalian genome can be hampered due to genetic redundancy and compensatory pathways that mask heterozygous mutations under homeostatic conditions. The objective of this study was to devise a pharmacologically sensitized screen using the chemotherapeutic drug, 5-fluorouracil (5FU), to induce cytopenia. 5FU dose was optimized in the 129/SvImJ, C57BL/6J, BALB/cJ, and C3H/HeJ strains of laboratory mice. N-ethyl-N-nitrosourea (ENU) mutagenesis was performed on 129/SvImJ males and phenotypic variants were identified by backcrossing on to the C57BL/6J background. G1 animals were challenged with 100 μg/g 5FU and phenodeviants with altered platelet recovery were monitored. Of 546 G1 animals tested, 15 phenodeviants were identified that displayed increased baseline platelet number, a platelet overshoot, or delayed platelet recovery, thereby demonstrating the utility of this approach for uncovering mutations in megakaryocyte and platelet development. Four G1 mice were selected for further analysis. The phenotypes were heritable in all four strains and genetic mapping identified a chromosome location in two of the three G2 lines tested. In conclusion, our group has developed a sensitized random mutagenesis screen utilizing 5FU and has shown that the strain combination of 129/SvImJ × C57BL/6J is robust for identification of founder lines with defects in megakaryocyte and platelet development.
Many neurological and psychiatric disorders are treated with dopamine modulators. Studies in mice may reveal genetic factors underlying those disorders or responsiveness to various treatments, and species and strain differences both complicate the use of mice and provide valuable tools. We evaluated psychomotor effects of the dopamine D1-like agonist R-6-Br-APB and the dopamine D2-like agonist quinelorane using a locomotor activity procedure in 15 mouse strains (inbred 129S1/SvImJ, 129S6/SvEvTac, 129X1/SvJ A/J, BALB/cByJ, BALB/cJ, C3H/HeJ, C57BL/6J, CAST/EiJ, DBA/2J, FVB/NJ, SJL/J, SPRET/EiJ, outbred Swiss Webster and CD-1) and Sprague Dawley rats, using groups of both females and males. Both D1 and D2 stimulation produced hyperactivity in the rats, and surprisingly, only two mouse strains were similar in that regard (C3H/HeJ, SPRET/EiJ). In contrast, the majority of mouse strains exhibited hyperactivity only with D1 stimulation, whereas D2 stimulation had no effect or decreased activity. BALB substrains, A/J and FVB/NJ mice showed only decreased activity following either D1 or D2 stimulation. CAST/EiJ mice exhibited hyperactivity exclusively with D2 stimulation. Sex differences were observed but no systematic trend emerged: For example, of the five strains in which a main factor of sex was identified for the stimulant effects of the D1 agonist, responsiveness was greatest in females in three of those strains and in males in two of those strains. These results should aid in the selection of mouse strains for future studies in which D1 or D2 responsiveness is a necessary consideration in the experimental design.
quinelorane; R-6-Br-APB; mouse strains; locomotor activity; direct dopamine agonists
The Mycoplasma arthritidis mitogen (MAM) superantigen (SAg) is a potent activator of human and murine cells and is produced by an organism that is a cause of acute and chronic arthritis of rodents. It is phylogenetically unrelated to other bacterial SAgs and exhibits a number of unique features. We recently demonstrated that MAM differentially regulates the cytokine responses of different mouse strains following in vivo administration. Here we show that the presence in inbred C3H/HeJ mice of the mutant Lpsd gene, which is associated with a defect in Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4), influences MAM regulation of cytokine profiles in vivo. Whereas the levels of type 1 cytokines (interleukin-2 [IL-2], gamma interferon, IL-12, and tumor necrosis factor alpha) were depressed in cells from MAM-injected wild-type C3H/HeSnJ mice, they were elevated in cells from C3H/HeJ mice. Furthermore, the levels of type 2 cytokines (IL-4, IL-6, and IL-10) were elevated in Lpsn C3H/HeSnJ mice but depressed in Lpsd C3H/HeJ mice. The transcript for IL-12 p40 was highly expressed in C3H/HeJ but not C3H/HeSnJ mice. F1 mice exhibited the same cytokine profile as C3H/HeJ mice, indicating that the mutant gene exhibited dominant-negative inheritance. In addition, C3H/HeJ mice were highly susceptible to toxic death in comparison with C3H/HeSnJ mice after injection with live M. arthritidis organisms. Our results suggest that MAM interacts with the lipopolysaccharide signaling pathway, possibly involving TLR4 or a combinatorial Toll complex.
The early events in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced B-cell activation were investigated by studying the binding of 14C-labeled LPS to murine lymphocytes in vitro. In these studies we utilized intrinsically labeled 14C-labeled LPS from Salmonella minnesota or the 14C-labeled glycolipid derived from the Re mutant of S. minnesota (R595). Bone marrow-derived (B) lymphocytes bound more LPS than did thymus-derived (T) lymphocytes. Binding of LPS to murine spleen lymphocytes from strain C3H/HeN was compared with the binding to spleen lymphocytes from strain C3H/HeJ, a strain resistant to certain biological activities of LPS including mitogenesis. Spleen cells from both strains bound LPS equally well, suggesting that unresponsiveness of C3H/HeJ mice to LPS is due to factors other than a defect in binding of LPS. LPS binding to cells appeared to be due to a nonspecific interaction between the lipid moiety of LPS and the lipid components of the cell membrane. Thus, the highly lipophilic, polysaccharide-deficient glycolipid from R595 bound at least 20 times better than did LPS. Furthermore, partial removal of cell surface proteins with trypsin or sialic acids with neuraminidase enhanced glycolipid binding, suggesting that binding is not through a protein- or sialic acid-containing receptor. The binding of glycolipid to lymphocytes was only partially specific since unlabeled glycolipid R595, lipid A, and LPS did not completely inhibit the uptake of 14C-labeled glycolipid R595. In addition, binding could be inhibited by a nonmitogenic phospholipid (phosphatidyl ethanolamine), which also is consistent with a nonspecific lipid-lipid interaction. Experiments were performed to determine the relationship of LPS binding to lymphocyte activation in the lymphocytes. The process of activation of lymphocytes by LPS was a slow one, since LPS was required to be present in culture for at least 24 h in order to obtain significant lymphocyte activation, suggesting that the amounts of LPS bound earlier are either quantitatively or qualitatively insufficient to irreversibly activate the cell.
Several inbred strains of mice were inoculated with Serpula (Treponema) hyodysenteriae B204 to determine susceptibility to infection. Challenge doses of 10(7) or 10(8) spirochetes induced cecal lesions in C3H/HeJ mice and other C3H strains of mice. However, more than a 100-fold difference existed between the dose required to induce lesions in 50% of the infected C3H/HeJ mice (8.3 x 10(7)) and that required to induce them in 50% of the infected C3H/HeN mice (5 x 10(5)). C3H/HeJ mice lack a splenocyte mitogenic response to Escherichia coli lipopolysaccharide but exhibited a mitogenic response comparable to those of other C3H strains of mice when stimulated with S. hyodysenteriae endotoxin (butanol-water extract). Different inbred strains exhibited different susceptibilities to infection, with the strain C3H/HeN being the most susceptible on the basis of colonization and development of macroscopic cecal lesions. The ity gene had no apparent effect on susceptibility of mice challenged with S. hyodysenteriae. The involvement of the H-2 haplotype with susceptibility is unclear, but the mice bearing H-2k were more susceptible than mice with the H-2b, H-2d, or H-2q haplotype. These data support the hypothesis that the host's responsiveness to lipopolysaccharide influences the susceptibility to infection with S. hyodysenteriae. However, differences in susceptibility between inbred mice exist independent of the lps locus, suggesting that there are other inherent differences between mouse strains that affect susceptibility to infection by S. hyodysenteriae.
The host response to experimental murine tularemia was examined in different inbred mouse strains. The kinetics of growth of Francisella tularensis live vaccine strain (LVS) in the livers and spleens of A and C57BL/6 mice were monitored, and it was observed that mice of the A strain were more susceptible to the proliferation of LVS than were C57BL/6 mice. The difference was most marked 5 days following infection, when the number of bacteria isolated from the spleens of A mice was found to exceed that of C57BL/6 mice by 100-fold. In addition, the C57BL/6 strain exhibited a more pronounced splenomegaly 8 days after infection than did the A strain. When the response of other inbred strains was evaluated by determining the splenic count of LVS on day 5 postinfection, several levels of antiularemic resistance were observed. Mice of the AKR, BALB/cBy, C57BL/10, and SJL strains were found to be most resistant, while SM mice were most susceptible to the proliferation of LVS. The DBA/2, CBA, 129, C3H/HeJ, and A strains expressed a resistance phenotype which was intermediate between the two extremes, with A and C3H/HeJ mice being somewhat more susceptible than DBA/2, CBA, or 129 mice. The trait of resistance or susceptibility was analyzed genetically in (C57BL/6 x A)F1 hybrid mice and in F2 generation and recombinant inbred (RI) mouse strains derived from C57BL/6 (resistant) and A (susceptible) strain progenitors. The F1 progeny exhibited a level of resistance to infection which was similar to that of the resistant parent. In both the F2 generation mice and the RI strains, a continuous spectrum of resistance levels was observed. The results of these experiments indicate that the genetic background of the host influences host resistance to experimental murine tularemia and that multiple genetic loci are involved in this response.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa, an opportunistic respiratory pathogen that infects the majority of patients with cystic fibrosis, initiates host inflammatory responses through interaction with airway epithelial cells. The Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are a family of pathogen pattern recognition receptors that play key roles in host innate immunity. In this study we aimed to determine whether TLRs mediate the interaction between P. aeruginosa and airway epithelial cells. Individual murine TLRs (TLR1 to TLR9) and dual combinations of these TLRs that activate an NF-κB-driven luciferase reporter in response to PAO1 were screened in HEK 293 cells. TLR5, TLR2, a combination of TLR1 and TLR2, or a combination of TLR2 and TLR6 responded to PAO1. Another P. aeruginosa strain, strain PAK, activated TLR5 similarly, while the isogenic flagellin-deficient strain PAK/fliC and the flagellum-free bacterium Haemophilus influenzae failed to activate TLR5. Reverse transcription-PCR was used to probe the presence of multiple TLRs (including TLR5) in primary human airway epithelial cells (HAECs). Immunostaining with TLR5 antibodies showed that TLR5 was expressed in HAECs and on the apical surface of the human trachea epithelium. In HAECs, PAO1, PAK, and Burkholderia cepacia, but not flagellin-deficient strain PAK/fliC or a B. cepacia fliC mutant, activated the NF-κB reporter. Dominant negative TLR5 specifically blocked the response to P. aeruginosa but not to the response to lipoteichoic acid, a specific ligand of TLR2. We also determined that MyD88, IRAK, TRAF6, and Toll-interacting protein (Tollip), but not TIRAP, were involved in the TLR-mediated response to P. aeruginosa in HAECs. These findings demonstrate that the airway epithelial receptor TLR5 senses P. aeruginosa through its flagellin protein, which may have an important role in the initiation of the host inflammatory reaction to clear the invading pathogen.
Lymphotoxin alpha (LTα) can exist in soluble form and exert tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-like activity through TNF receptors. Based on the phenotypes of knockout (KO) mice, the physiological functions of LTα and TNF are considered partly redundant, in particular, in supporting the microarchitecture of the spleen and in host defense. We exploited Cre-LoxP technology to generate a novel neomycin resistance gene (neo) cassette-free LTα-deficient mouse strain (neo-free LTα KO [LTαΔ/Δ]). Unlike the “conventional” LTα−/− mice, new LTαΔ/Δ animals were capable of producing normal levels of systemic TNF upon lipopolysaccharide (LPS) challenge and were susceptible to LPS/d-galactosamine (D-GalN) toxicity. Activated neutrophils, monocytes, and macrophages from LTαΔ/Δ mice expressed TNF normally at both the mRNA and protein levels as opposed to conventional LTα KO mice, which showed substantial decreases in TNF. Additionally, the spleens of the neo-free LTα KO mice displayed several features resembling those of LTβ KO mice rather than conventional LTα KO animals. The phenotype of the new LTαΔ/Δ mice indicates that LTα plays a smaller role in lymphoid organ maintenance than previously thought and has no direct role in the regulation of TNF expression.
Three defining clinical symptoms of autism are aberrant reciprocal social interactions, deficits in social communication, and repetitive behaviors, including motor stereotypies and insistence on sameness. We developed a set of behavioral tasks designed to model components of these core symptoms in mice. Male mice from ten inbred strains were characterized in assays for sociability, preference for social novelty, and reversal of the spatial location of the reinforcer in T-maze and Morris water maze tasks. Six strains, C57BL/6J, C57L/J, DBA/2J, FVB/NJ, C3H/HeJ, and AKR/J, showed significant levels of sociability, while A/J, BALB/cByJ, BTBR T+tf/J, and 129S1/SvImJ mice did not. C57BL/6J, C57L/J, DBA/2J, FVB/NJ, BALB/cByJ, and BTBR T+tf/J showed significant preference for social novelty, while C3H/HeJ, AKR/J, A/J, and 129S1/SvImJ did not. Normal scores on relevant control measures confirmed general health and physical abilities in all strains, ruling out artifactual explanations for social deficits. Elevated plus maze scores confirmed high anxiety-like behaviors in A/J, BALB/cByJ, and 129S1/SvImJ, which could underlie components of their low social approach. Strains that showed high levels of performance on acquisition of a T-maze task were also able to reach criterion for reversal learning. On the Morris water maze task, DBA/2J, AKR/J, BTBR T+tf/J, and 129S1/SvImJ failed to show significant quadrant preference during the reversal probe trial. These results highlight a dissociation between social task performance and reversal learning. BTBR T+tf/J is a particularly interesting strain, displaying both low social approach and resistance to change in routine on the water maze, consistent with an autism-like phenotype. Our multitask strategy for modeling symptoms of autism will be useful for investigating targeted and random gene mutations, QTLs, and microarray analyses.
autism; locomotion; sociability; social preference; social approach; T-maze; Morris water maze; reversal tasks
Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are crucial pattern recognition receptors in innate immunity that are expressed in microglia, the resident macrophages of the brain. TLR2, -4, and -9 are important in the responses against Streptococcus pneumoniae, the most common agent causing bacterial meningitis beyond the neonatal period. Murine microglial cultures were stimulated with agonists for TLR1/2 (Pam3CSK4), TLR4 (lipopolysaccharide), and TLR9 (CpG oligodeoxynucleotide) for 24 h and then exposed to either the encapsulated D39 (serotype 2) or the nonencapsulated R6 strain of S. pneumoniae. After stimulation, the levels of interleukin-6 and CCL5 (RANTES [regulated upon activation normal T-cell expressed and secreted]) were increased, confirming microglial activation. The TLR1/2, -4, and -9 agonist-stimulated microglia ingested significantly more bacteria than unstimulated cells (P < 0.05). The presence of cytochalasin D, an inhibitor of actin polymerizaton, blocked >90% of phagocytosis. Along with an increased phagocytic activity, the intracellular bacterial killing was also increased in TLR-stimulated cells compared to unstimulated cells. Together, our data suggest that microglial stimulation by these TLRs may increase the resistance of the brain against pneumococcal infections.
The profiles of gamma interferon (IFN-gamma) and interleukin-4 (IL-4) production were evaluated during the course of coccidioidomycosis in two inbred mouse strains which differ in their susceptibility to Coccidioides immitis. Cytokine responses, measured at the molecular and protein levels, showed increased levels of IFN-gamma in lung extracts from mice of the resistant DBA/2 strain after a pulmonary challenge, whereas the susceptible BALB/c strain manifested a predominant IL-4 response. The importance of these cytokines in host defense against C. immitis was established by treating the mice with recombinant cytokines or neutralizing anticytokine monoclonal antibodies. Treatment of the susceptible BALB/c mice with recombinant murine IFN-gamma significantly protected mice against systemic challenge, and in the reciprocal experiment, the administration of an anti-IFN-gamma monoclonal antibody to the resistant DBA/2 mice significantly decreased their capacity to control disease. Although the treatment of DBA/2 mice with recombinant IL-4 did not alter the disease, neutralization of endogenous IL-4 in infected BALB/c mice by administration of a neutralizing anti-IL-4 antibody led to a significant reduction in the fungal load in their tissues. These results, taken together, establish that IFN-gamma plays a pivotal role in resistance to C. immitis, whereas IL-4 down-regulates protective immunity against C. immitis.
Francisella tularensis is an intracellular gram-negative bacterium that is highly infectious and potentially lethal. Several subspecies exist of varying pathogenicity. Infection by only a few organisms is sufficient to cause disease depending on the model system. Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) of gram-negative bacteria is generally recognized by Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4)/MD-2 and induces a strong proinflammatory response. Examination of human clinical F. tularensis isolates revealed that human virulent type A and type B strains produced lipid A of similar structure to the nonhuman model pathogen of mice, Francisella novicida. F. novicida LPS or lipid A is neither stimulatory nor an antagonist for human and murine cells through TLR4 or TLR2. It does not appear to interact with TLR4 or MD-2, as it is not an antagonist to other stimulatory LPS. Consistent with these observations, aerosolization of F. novicida LPS or whole bacteria induced no inflammatory response in mice. These results suggest that poor innate recognition of F. tularensis allows the bacterium to evade early recognition by the host innate immune system to promote its pathogenesis for mammals.
Suppression of the blastogenic response of spleen cells was found during murine cytomegalovirus infection of the genetically susceptible BALB/c and also the more resistant BALB.K strains of mice. These results were observed for both the T-cell mitogen concanavalin A and the B-cell mitogen lipopolysaccharide. As the viral inoculum was increased, there was greater immunosuppression within each strain, the time of maximum depression coinciding with peak virus titers in the spleen. Although both strains developed similar splenic virus titers and exhibited a similar decrease in the proportion of splenic T-lymphocytes, there was greater suppression of the mitogenic response during sublethal infection of the more susceptible BALB/c strain. The suppression could not be readily accounted for by the presence of suppressor cells or by a change in sensitivity to mitogen. The results suggest that the extent of immunosuppression induced by murine cytomegalovirus is determined in part by host genotype.