Advances in the glycobiology and immunology fields have provided many insights into the role of carbohydrate-protein interactions in the immune system. We aim to present a comprehensive review of the effects that some plant lectins exert as immunomodulatory agents, showing that they are able to positively modify the immune response to certain pathological conditions, such as cancer and infections. The present review comprises four main themes: (1) an overview of plant lectins that exert immunomodulatory effects and the mechanisms accounting for these activities; (2) general characteristics of the immunomodulatory lectin ArtinM from the seeds of Artocarpus heterophyllus; (3) activation of innate immunity cells by ArtinM and consequent induction of Th1 immunity; (4) resistance conferred by ArtinM administration in infections with intracellular pathogens, such as Leishmania (Leishmania) major, Leishmania (Leishmania) amazonensis, and Paracoccidioides brasiliensis. We believe that this review will be a valuable resource for more studies in this relatively neglected area of research, which has the potential to reveal carbohydrate targets for novel prophylactic and therapeutic strategies.
Plant lectins; ArtinM lectin; Immunomodulation; Toll-like receptor; Leishmania; Paracoccidioides brasiliensis
The thermally dimorphic fungus Paracoccidioides brasiliensis is the causative agent of paracoccidioidomycosis (PCM), the most frequent systemic mycosis that affects the rural populations in Latin America. Despite significant developments in antifungal chemotherapy, its efficacy remains limited since drug therapy is prolonged and associated with toxic side effects and relapses. In response to these challenges, it is now recognized that several aspects of antifungal immunity can be modulated to better deal with fungal infections. A common idea for halting fungal infections has been the need to activate a cell-based, pro-inflammatory Th1 immune response to improve the fungal elimination. ArtinM, a D-mannose binding lectin from Artocarpus heterophyllus, has the property of modulating immunity against several intracellular pathogens. Here, we review the immunomodulatory activity of ArtinM during experimental PCM in mice. Both prophylactic and therapeutic protocols of ArtinM administration promotes a Th1 immune response balanced by IL-10, which outstandingly reduces the fungal load in organs of the treated mice while maintaining a controlled inflammation at the site of infection. A carbohydrate recognition-based interaction of ArtinM with Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) accounts for initiating the immunomodulatory effect of the lectin. The precise identification of the TLR2 N-glycan(s) targeted by ArtinM may support novel basis for the development of antifungal therapy.
Paracoccidioides brasiliensis; ArtinM; immunomodulation
The D-mannose binding lectin ArtinM is known to recruit neutrophils, to degranulate mast cells and may have potential therapeutic applications. However, the effect of ArtinM on mast cell recruitment has not been investigated.
Male Wistar rats were injected i.p. with ArtinM or ConA (control). The ability of the lectin to degranulate peritoneal and mesenteric mast cells was examined. Recruitment of mast cells to the peritoneal cavity and mesentery after ArtinM injection was examined with or without depletion of peritoneal mast cells by distilled water.
ArtinM degranulated both peritoneal and mesentery mast cells in vitro. Three days after i.p. injection of the lectin there were reduced numbers of mast cells in the peritoneal lavage, while at 7 days post injection of ArtinM, the number of peritoneal mast cells was close to control values. Since immature mast cells are recruited from the bone marrow, the effect of the lectin on bone marrow mast cells was examined. Injection of ArtinM resulted in an increased number of mast cells in the bone marrow. To determine if degranulation of mast cells in the peritoneal cavity was required for the increase in bone marrow mast cells, the peritoneal cavity was depleted of mast cells with ultrapure water. Exposure to ArtinM increased the number of mast cells in the bone marrow of rats depleted of peritoneal mast cells.
The ArtinM induced recruitment of mast cells from the bone marrow to the peritoneal cavity may partially explain the therapeutic actions of ArtinM.
ArtinM, a d-mannose-binding lectin from Artocarpus heterophyllus (jackfruit), interacts with N-glycosylated receptors on the surface of several cells of hematopoietic origin, triggering cell migration, degranulation, and cytokine release. Because malignant transformation is often associated with altered expression of cell surface glycans, we evaluated the interaction of ArtinM with human myelocytic leukemia cells and investigated cellular responses to lectin binding. The intensity of ArtinM binding varied across 3 leukemia cell lines: NB4>K562>U937. The binding, which was directly related to cell growth suppression, was inhibited in the presence of Manα1-3(Manα1-6)Manβ1, and was reverted in underglycosylated NB4 cells. ArtinM interaction with NB4 cells induced cell death (IC50 = 10 µg/mL), as indicated by cell surface exposure of phosphatidylserine and disruption of mitochondrial membrane potential unassociated with caspase activation or DNA fragmentation. Moreover, ArtinM treatment of NB4 cells strongly induced reactive oxygen species generation and autophagy, as indicated by the detection of acidic vesicular organelles in the treated cells. NB4 cell death was attributed to ArtinM recognition of the trimannosyl core of N-glycans containing a ß1,6-GlcNAc branch linked to α1,6-mannose. This modification correlated with higher levels of N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase V transcripts in NB4 cells than in K562 or U937 cells. Our results provide new insights into the potential of N-glycans containing a β1,6-GlcNAc branch linked to α1,6-mannose as a novel target for anti-leukemia treatment.
The pseudorabies virus (PRV) gp50 envelope glycoprotein gene was cloned and expressed in a recombinant baculovirus. An anti-gp50 Mab (1842) recognized a protein of approximately 40 kDa in immunoblotting assays from infected insect cell lysates, while this product was not present in cells infected with wild-type baculovirus. The recombinant protein was purified by lectin affinity chromatography, utilizing lectins specific for O-linked oligosaccharides (Artocarpus integrifolia and Glycine max). Competitive (c) ELISAs, using either crude or lectin-purified antigen, were devised for the detection of antibodies to PRV in sera, and were capable of monitoring sero-conversion by day 14 post-infection. Furthermore, a specificity of 100% and sensitivity of 98% (crude lysate antigen) or 96% (lectin-purified antigen) was found for a panel of 80 swine sera, using the cELISA, as compared to a serum neutralization (SN) test. These studies demonstrated that recombinant PRV gp50 protein shows promise as a cELISA antigen, for serodetection of PRV.
Fibroadenomas are benign human breast tumors, characterized by proliferation of epithelial and stromal components of the terminal ductal unit. They may grow, regress or remain unchanged, as the hormonal environment of the patient changes. Expression of antigen TF in mucin or mucin-type glycoproteins and of galectin-3 seems to contribute to proliferation and transformations events; their expression has been reported in ductal breast cancer and in aggressive tumors.
Lectin histochemistry, immunohistochemistry, and immunofluorescence were used to examine the expression and distribution of antigen TF and galectin-3. We used lectins from Arachis hypogaea, Artocarpus integrifolia, and Amaranthus lecuocarpus to evaluate TF expression and a monoclonal antibody to evaluate galectin-3 expression. We used paraffin-embedded blocks from 10 breast tissues diagnosed with fibroadenoma and as control 10 healthy tissue samples. Histochemical and immunofluorescence analysis showed positive expression of galectin-3 in fibroadenoma tissue, mainly in stroma, weak interaction in ducts was observed; whereas, in healthy tissue samples the staining was also weak in ducts. Lectins from A. leucocarpus and A. integrifolia specificaly recognized ducts in healthy breast samples, whereas the lectin from A. hypogaea recognized ducts and stroma. In fibroadenoma tissue, the lectins from A. integrifolia, A. Hypogaea, and A. leucocarpus recognized mainly ducts.
Our results suggest that expression of antigen TF and galectin-3 seems to participate in fibroadenoma development.
Antigen TF; Galectin-3; Fibroadenoma; Breast cancer; Plant lectins
This study evaluated extracts, fractions, and isolated compounds from some selected Brazilian medicinal plants against strains of promastigotes of Leishmania amazonensis and L. brasiliensis in vitro. The cell viability was determined, comparing the results with reference standards. The dichloromethane fractions of the roots, stems, and leaves of Allamanda schottii showed IC50 values between 14.0 and 2.0 μg/mL. Plumericin was the main active compound, with IC50 of 0.3 and 0.04 μg/mL against the two species of Leishmania analyzed. The hexane extract of Eugenia umbelliflora fruits showed IC50 of 14.3 and 5.7 μg/mL against L. amazonensis and L. brasiliensis, respectively. The methanolic extracts of the seeds of Garcinia achachairu and guttiferone A presented IC50 values of 35.9 and 10.4 μg/mL, against L. amazonensis, respectively. The ethanolic extracts of the stem barks of Rapanea ferruginea and the isolated compound, myrsinoic acid B, presented activity against L. brasiliensis with IC50 of 24.1 and 6.1 μg/mL. Chloroform fraction of Solanum sisymbriifolium exhibited IC50 of 33.8 and 20.5 μg/mL, and cilistol A was the main active principle, with IC50 of 6.6 and 3.1 μg/mL against L. amazonensis and L. brasiliensis, respectively. It is concluded that the analyzed plants are promising as new and effective antiparasitic agents.
Paracoccidioidomycosis (PCM), caused by the dimorphic fungus Paracoccidioides brasiliensis, is a disseminated, systemic disorder that involves the lungs and other organs. The ability of the pathogen to interact with host components, including extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins, is essential to further colonization, invasion, and growth. Previously, enolase (EC 22.214.171.124) was characterized as a fibronectin binding protein in P. brasiliensis. Interaction of surface-bound enolase with plasminogen has been incriminated in tissue invasion for pathogenesis in several pathogens. In this paper, enolase was expressed in Escherichia coli as a recombinant glutathione S-transferase (GST) fusion protein (recombinant P. brasiliensis enolase [rPbEno]). The P. brasiliensis native enolase (PbEno) was detected at the fungus surface and cytoplasm by immunofluorescence with an anti-rPbEno antibody. Immobilized purified rPbEno bound plasminogen in a specific, concentration-dependent fashion. Both native enolase and rPbEno activated conversion of plasminogen to plasmin through tissue plasminogen activator. The association between PbEno and plasminogen was lysine dependent. In competition experiments, purified rPbEno, in its soluble form, inhibited plasminogen binding to fixed P. brasiliensis, suggesting that this interaction required surface-localized PbEno. Plasminogen-coated P. brasiliensis yeast cells were capable of degrading purified fibronectin, providing in vitro evidence for the generation of active plasmin on the fungus surface. Exposure of epithelial cells and phagocytes to enolase was associated with an increased expression of surface sites of adhesion. In fact, the association of P. brasiliensis with epithelial cells and phagocytes was increased in the presence of rPbEno. The expression of PbEno was upregulated in yeast cells derived from mouse-infected tissues. These data indicate that surface-associated PbEno may contribute to the pathogenesis of P. brasiliensis.
Infection of mice with Leishmania major results in disease progression or resolution, largely depending on the genetic backgrounds of the mouse strains. Infection with Leishmania amazonensis, on the other hand, causes progressive cutaneous lesions in most inbred strains of mice. We hypothesized that deficient activation of early immune responses contributes to the pathogenesis in L. amazonensis-infected mice. To distinguish early molecular events that determine the outcome of Leishmania infections, we examined cytokine gene expression in C57BL/6 mice infected with either L. amazonensis or L. major (a healing model). After 2 to 4 weeks, L. amazonensis-infected mice had significantly delayed and depressed expression of inflammatory cytokines (interleukin-12 [IL-12], gamma interferon, IL-1α, IL-1β), CC chemokines (CC chemokine ligand 3 [CCL3]/macrophage inflammatory protein 1α [MIP-1α], CCL4/MIP-1β, CCL5/RANTES, MIP-2), and chemokine receptors (CCR1, CCR2, CCR5) in foot tissues and draining lymph nodes compared to the expression in L. major-infected controls. These findings correlated with defective T-cell responsiveness to parasite stimulation in vivo and in vitro. Adoptive transfer of L. amazonensis-specific Th1 cells prior to infection overcame the immune defects of the animals, leading to complete control of the disease. Studies with gene knockout mice suggested that IL-10, but not IL-4, contributed partially to compromised immunity in L. amazonensis-infected hosts. The data suggest that there is impairment in multiple immune functions at early stages of infection with L. amazonensis parasites and provide a compelling rationale to explore immune augmentation as an intervention in American cutaneous leishmaniasis.
Novel anti-HIV lectin family which shows a strict binding specificity for high mannose glycans has been found in lower organisms. The bacterial orthologue has been identified in the genome of Pseudomonas fluorescens Pf0-1 and the gene coding a putative lectin was cloned, expressed in Escherichia coli and purified by one step gel filtration. Glycan array screening of the recombinant lectin, termed PFL, has revealed that PFL preferentially recognizes high mannose glycans with α1-3 Man that was highly exposed at the D2 position. In contrast, masking of this α1-3 Man with α1-2 Man dramatically impaired lectin-carbohydrate interactions. Reducing terminal disaccharide, GlcNAc-GlcNAc of high mannose glycans was also essential for PFL-binding. PFL showed a potent anti-influenza virus activity by inhibiting the virus entry into cells at doses of low nanomolar concentration. At micromolar concentration or higher, PFL showed a cytotoxicity accompanying loss of the cell adhesion against human gastric cancer MKN28 cells. The cell surface molecule to which PFL bound was co-precipitated with biotin-labeled PFL and identified as integrin α2 by peptide mass fingerprinting using MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry. Intriguingly, upon treatment with exogenous PFL, integrin α2 on the cell surface underwent rapid internalization to the cytoplasm and accumulated to perinuclear region, together with the bound PFL. The resulting loss of cell adherence would trigger a signaling pathway that induced anoikis-like cell death. These events were effectively inhibited by pretreatment of PFL with mannnan, indicating the involvement of high mannose glycans on PFL-induced cell death that was triggered by PFL-integrin α2 interactions.
Paracoccidioidomycosis, PCM, the major systemic mycosis in Latin America, is caused by the termally dimorphic fungus Paracoccidioides brasiliensis and requires extended periods of chemotherapy with a significant frequency of relapsing disease. The search for new alternatives of treatment is necessary. rPb27 is an antigenic protein from P. brasiliensis that already showed a significant protective activity as a vaccine for PCM in experimental models. The cDNA of rPb27 was subcloned into a pET-DEST 42 plasmid, expressed in E. coli with a his-tag and purified by affinity chromatography. Immunization with this recombinant protein and chemotherapy were used together in an attempt to improve treatment of PCM. For this, BALB/c mice were challenged with pathogenic P. brasiliensis strain and after immunized with rPb27, in the presence of Corynebacterium parvum and Al(OH)3, some groups were also treated with fluconazole. After 40 days of treatment, the combined drug/rPb27 administration controlled PCM in the liver and spleen, with long lasting protection, and largely preserved tissues structures of these organs. Additionally, in the lungs after 40 days of treatment there was a significant reduction in the fungal load and size of lesions. At the same time, the levels of TNF-α were higher than infected-only mice. Moreover, significant levels of anti-rPb27 specific IgG1, IgG2a and IgG2b isotypes were detected in the sera of mice immunized with rPb27 fluconazole treated or not. These results showed an additive protective effect of rPb27 immunization and chemotherapy, suggesting that an rPb27-based vaccine can be used to enhance PCM antifungal treatment.
We report that phagocytosis by human neutrophils of Con A-treated erythrocytes (E-Con A) and nonopsonized Escherichia coli with mannose- binding adhesions is mediated by the Fc gamma receptor bearing the 3G8 epitope. Modulation of Fc receptors by pretreating with aggregated-IgG or with 3G8 anti-Fc gamma receptor mAb markedly inhibited internalization of E-Con A and E. coli without altering their cell surface attachment. Phagocytosis of these probes was specifically blocked by alpha-methylmannoside and D-mannose and not by other monosaccharides. Thus, recognition of E-Con A and E. coli by the Fc receptor is dependent upon the mannose-specific interaction with lectin or lectin-like adhesions. These data demonstrate that ligands other than the classical IgG opsonins can bind to classical immune receptors for IgG through lectin-carbohydrate interactions.
The mannose-specific adherence to yeast cells of Escherichia coli excreted in the urine of patients with urinary tract infections was compared with that of isolates from the same urine after growth of the bacteria in broth. The results revealed that although E. coli excreted in only 2 of 24 urine specimens exhibited mannose-specific adherence, about half of the broth cultures from these specimens did so. Examination of representative specimens of E. coli excreted in urine showed that coating antibodies, mannose-containing glycoproteins, and encapsulation were not responsible for the lack of the mannose-specific adherence. Our results suggest that E. coli strains that are genetically capable of exhibiting mannose-specific adherence may, when growing in the bladder, be in a phase of growth which suppresses the phenotypic expression of this trait. Mannose-specific adherence is indicative of the presence on the bacterial surface of adhesions (lectins) that bind the organisms to mannose residues on both epithelial and phagocytic cells. We propose that whereas at the initial stages of infection the bacteria may benefit from their ability to bind to mannose residues on epithelial cells, loss of this ability at the later stages of the infection is also beneficial, since the bacteria can no longer adhere to mannose residues on phagocytes, and are thus resistant to nonimmune phagocytosis.
The susceptibility of mice to Leishmania amazonensis infection is thought to result from an inability to develop a Th1 response. Our data show that the low levels of gamma interferon (IFN-γ) produced by the draining lymph node (DLN) cells of chronically infected mice could be enhanced in vitro and in vivo with L. amazonensis antigen-pulsed bone marrow-derived dendritic cells (BM-DC) and the Th1-promoting cytokine interleukin-12 (IL-12). Given intralesionally to chronically infected mice, this treatment induced the upregulation of mRNA levels for IFN-γ, the transcription factor T-box expressed in T cells, and IL-12 receptor β2 in CD4+ T cells from the DLN and an increase in parasite-specific immunoglobulin G2a in the serum. However, this Th1 response was not associated with healing, and the antigen-specific enhancement of IFN-γ production remained impaired in the DLN. However, addition of IL-12 to the in vitro recall response was able to recover this defect, suggesting that antigen-presenting cell-derived IL-12 production may be limited in infected mice. This was supported by the fact that L. amazonensis amastigotes limited the production of IL-12p40 from BM-DC in vitro. Altogether, our data indicate that the immune response of mice chronically infected with L. amazonensis can be enhanced towards a Th1 phenotype but that the presence of Th1 CD4+ T cells does not promote healing. This suggests that the phenotype of the CD4+ T cells may not always be indicative of protection to L. amazonensis infection. Furthermore, our data support growing evidence that antigen-presenting cell function, such as IL-12 production, may limit the immune response in L. amazonensis-infected mice.
Escherichia coli causes about 90% of urinary tract infections (UTI), and more than 95% of all UTI-causing E. coli express type 1 fimbriae. The fimbrial tip-positioned adhesive protein FimH utilizes a shear force-enhanced, so-called catch-bond mechanism of interaction with its receptor, mannose, where the lectin domain of FimH shifts from a low- to a high-affinity conformation upon separation from the anchoring pilin domain. Here, we show that immunization with the lectin domain induces antibodies that exclusively or predominantly recognize only the high-affinity conformation. In the lectin domain, we identified four high-affinity-specific epitopes, all positioned away from the mannose-binding pocket, which are recognized by 20 separate clones of monoclonal antibody. None of the monoclonal or polyclonal antibodies against the lectin domain inhibited the adhesive function. On the contrary, the antibodies enhanced FimH-mediated binding to mannosylated ligands and increased by severalfold bacterial adhesion to urothelial cells. Furthermore, by natural conversion from the high- to the low-affinity state, FimH adhesin was able to shed the antibodies bound to it. When whole fimbriae were used, the antifimbrial immune serum that contained a significant amount of antibodies against the lectin domain of FimH was also able to enhance FimH-mediated binding. Thus, bacterial adhesins (or other surface antigens) with the ability to switch between alternative conformations have the potential to induce a conformation-specific immune response that has a function-enhancing rather than -inhibiting impact on the protein. These observations have implications for the development of adhesin-specific vaccines and may serve as a paradigm for antibody-mediated enhancement of pathogen binding.
We have examined the A431 (human epidermoid carcinoma) and HT29 (human colorectal carcinoma) cellular responses evoked by lectins of dietary origin, Jacalin of Artocarpus integrifolia (native jacalin; nJacalin), peanut agglutinin (PNA) of Arachis hypogea, and recombinant single-chain jacalin (rJacalin), which has the same protein backbone but ∼100-fold less affinity for carbohydrates than nJacalin. All three lectins (nJacalin, rJacalin, and PNA) are cycotoxic inhibitors of proliferation of A431 cells. However, cells recover once jacalin but not PNA have been removed from the growth medium. Treatment of nJacalin results in morphologically visible cell rounding while retaining the membrane integrity when treated at 40 μg ml−1, but treatment with PNA did not induce such changes. The observed cell rounding was found to be due to stress as the phosphorylation of caveolin-1 (at tyr14), p38 but not c-Jun N-terminal kinase were up-regulated, while PNA did not up-regulate the phosphorylation of the same. Jacalin also down-regulated the phosphorylation of the epidermal growth factor receptor and extracellular signal regulated kinase in contrast to PNA, which failed to down-regulate the same. Confocal microscopic studies reveal that jacalin is not internalized, unlike the lectin of Agaricus bisporous. Analysis of the proteins that bind to an nJacalin-sepharose column revealed the binding of six to eight proteins, and significant among them is a protein at ∼110 kDa, which appears to be oxygen-regulated protein 150 (ORP150) (endoplasmic reticulum chaperone) as identified by its isoelectric point, two-dimensional sodium dodecyl sulfate–polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and mass spectrometric analysis. This 110-kDa band is detectable with anti-Hsp70 antibody because ORP150 has homology with Hsp70. Confocal microscopic studies reveal the presence of Hsp70-like proteins on the surface of A431 cells as revealed by immunostaining with anti-Hsp70 antibody. Moreover, overexpression of ORP150 in A431 cells has resulted in a dramatic protection of A431 cells against jacalin-induced toxicity, confirming that the jacalin-induced cytotoxicity is mediated through ORP150, and impairment of ORP150 functions with the help of jacalin makes the cells more susceptible to death due to stress. Our studies suggest that the cellular responses, as a consequence of lectin binding, may not be exclusively mediated by carbohydrate binding property alone, but other factors such as protein-protein interactions may also contribute to the observed cellular responses.
Nitric oxide (NO•) plays a pivotal role as a leishmanicidal agent in mouse macrophages. NO• resistant Escherichia coli and Mycobacterium tuberculosis have been associated with a severe outcome of these diseases.
In this study we evaluated the in vitro toxicity of nitric oxide for the promastigote stages of Leishmania (Viannia) braziliensis and Leishmania (Leishmania) amazonensis parasites, and the infectivity of the amastigote stage for human macrophages. Parasites were isolated from patients with cutaneous, mucosal or disseminated leishmaniasis, and NO• resistance was correlated with clinical presentation.
Seventeen isolates of L. (L.) amazonensis or L. (V.) braziliensis promastigotes were killed by up to 8 mM of more of NaNO2 (pH 5.0) and therefore were defined as nitric oxide-susceptible. In contrast, eleven isolates that survived exposure to 16 mM NaNO2 were defined as nitric oxide-resistant. Patients infected with nitric oxide-resistant Leishmania had significantly larger lesions than patients infected with nitric oxide-susceptible isolates. Furthermore, nitric oxide-resistant L. (L.) amazonensis and L. (V.) braziliensis multiplied significantly better in human macrophages than nitric oxide-susceptible isolates.
These data suggest that nitric oxide-resistance of Leishmania isolates confers a survival benefit for the parasites inside the macrophage, and possibly exacerbates the clinical course of human leishmaniasis.
Paracoccidioides brasiliensis is a thermodimorphic human pathogenic fungus that causes paracoccidioidomycosis (PCM), which is the most prevalent systemic mycosis in Latin America. Differentiation from the mycelial to the yeast form (M-to-Y) is an essential step for the establishment of PCM. We evaluated the involvement of mitochondria and intracellular oxidative stress in M-to-Y differentiation. M-to-Y transition was delayed by the inhibition of mitochondrial complexes III and IV or alternative oxidase (AOX) and was blocked by the association of AOX with complex III or IV inhibitors. The expression of P. brasiliensis aox (Pbaox) was developmentally regulated through M-to-Y differentiation, wherein the highest levels were achieved in the first 24 h and during the yeast exponential growth phase; Pbaox was upregulated by oxidative stress. Pbaox was cloned, and its heterologous expression conferred cyanide-resistant respiration in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Escherichia coli and reduced oxidative stress in S. cerevisiae cells. These results reinforce the role of PbAOX in intracellular redox balancing and demonstrate its involvement, as well as that of other components of the mitochondrial respiratory chain complexes, in the early stages of the M-to-Y differentiation of P. brasiliensis.
Infection with Leishmania amazonensis and other members of the Leishmania mexicana complex can lead to diverse clinical manifestations, some of which are relatively difficult to control, even with standard chemotherapy. Diffuse cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) is a rare but severe form, and its clinical hallmark is excessive parasitic growth in infected cells accompanied by profound impairments in host immune responses to the parasites. Since these parasites also cause non-healing CL in most inbred strains of mice, these animals are valuable models for dissecting the mechanisms of persistent infection and disease pathogenesis. In comparison to other Leishmania species, L. amazonensis infections are most remarkable for their ability to repress the activation and effector functions of macrophages, dendritic cells, and CD4+ T cells, implying discrete mechanisms at work. In addition to this multilateral suppression of host innate and adaptive immunity, the activation of types I and II interferon-mediated responses and autophagic/lipid metabolic pathways actually promotes rather than restrains L. amazonensis infection. These seemingly contradictory findings reflect the remarkable adaptation of the parasites to the ancient defense machinery of the host, as well as the complex parasite–host interactions at different stages of infection, which collectively contribute to non-healing leishmaniasis in the New World. This review article highlights new evidence that reveals the strategies utilized by L. amazonensis parasites to subvert or modulate host innate defense machinery in neutrophils and macrophages, as well as the regulatory roles of host innate responses in promoting parasite survival and replication within the huge parasitophorous vacuoles. A better understanding of unique features in host responses to these parasites at early and late stages of infection is important for the rational design of control strategies for non-healing leishmaniasis.
Leishmania amazonensis; innate immunity; parasite adaptation; immunopathogenesis
Leishmania parasites infect macrophages, cells normally involved in innate defense against pathogens. L. amazonensis and L. major cause severe or mild disease, respectively, consistent with each parasite’s ability to survive within activated macrophages. The mechanisms underlying increased virulence of L. amazonensis are mostly unknown. We show that L. amazonensis promotes its own survival by inducing expression of CD200, an immunoregulatory molecule that inhibits macrophage activation. L. amazonensis does not form typical non-healing lesions in CD200−/− mice and cannot replicate in CD200−/− macrophages, an effect reversed by exogenous administration of soluble CD200-Fc. The less virulent L. major does not induce CD200 expression and forms small, self-healing lesions in both wild type and CD200−/− mice. Notably, CD200-Fc injection transforms the course of L. major infection to one resembling L. amazonensis, with large, non-healing lesions. CD200-dependent iNOS inhibition allows parasite growth in macrophages, identifying a mechanism for the increased virulence of L. amazonensis.
Previous studies of tissue repair have revealed osteopontin (OPN) to be up-regulated in association with the wound inflammatory response. We hypothesize that OPN may contribute to inflammation-associated fibrosis. In a series of in vitro and in vivo studies, we analyze the effects of blocking OPN expression at the wound, and determine which inflammatory cells, and which paracrine factors from these cells, may be responsible for triggering OPN expression in wound fibroblasts. Delivery of OPN antisense oligodeoxynucleotides into mouse skin wounds by release from Pluronic gel decreases OPN protein levels at the wound and results in accelerated healing and reduced granulation tissue formation and scarring. To identify which leukocytic lineages may be responsible for OPN expression, we cultured fibroblasts in macrophage-, neutrophil-, or mast cell–conditioned media (CM), and found that macrophage- and mast cell–secreted factors, specifically platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), induced fibroblast OPN expression. Correspondingly, Gleevec, which blocks PDGF receptor signaling, and PDGF-Rβ–neutralizing antibodies, inhibited OPN induction by macrophage-CM. These studies indicate that inflammation-triggered expression of OPN both hinders the rate of repair and contributes to wound fibrosis. Thus, OPN and PDGF are potential targets for therapeutic modulation of skin repair to improve healing rate and quality.
Infection of mammalian hosts with Leishmania amazonensis depends on the remarkable ability of these parasites to replicate within macrophage phagolysosomes. A critical adaptation for survival in this harsh environment is an efficient mechanism for gaining access to iron. In this study, we identify and characterize LIT1, a novel L. amazonensis membrane protein with extensive similarity to IRT1, a ZIP family ferrous iron transporter from Arabidopsis thaliana. The ability of LIT1 to promote iron transport was demonstrated after expression in yeast and in L. amazonensis LIT1-null amastigotes. Endogenous LIT1 was only detectable in amastigotes replicating intracellularly, and its intracellular expression was accelerated under conditions predicted to result in iron deprivation. Although L. amazonensis lacking LIT1 grew normally in axenic culture and had no defects differentiating into infective forms, replication within macrophages was abolished. Consistent with an essential role for LIT1 in intracellular growth as amastigotes, Δlit1 parasites were avirulent. After inoculation into highly susceptible mice, no lesions were detected, even after extensive periods of time. Despite the absence of pathology, viable Δlit1 parasites were recovered from the original sites of inoculation, indicating that L. amazonensis can persist in vivo independently of the ability to grow in macrophages. Our findings highlight the essential role played by intracellular iron acquisition in Leishmania virulence and identify this pathway as a promising target for therapeutic intervention.
Selectins are essential for leukocyte recruitment in inflammation. Because of a lectin domain present in the selectin structure, we investigated the anti-inflammtory activity of six mannose–glucose binding lectins from brazilian beans: Dioclea guianensis-DguiL; D. grandiflora-DgL; Cratylia floribunda-CfL;
D. violacea-D.vL; D. virgata-DvirL and Canavalia brasiliensis-ConBr. The lectins were injected intravenously (i.v.) into rats (0.1 and 1.0 mg/kg; 30 min before irritants) and its activities compared to
E. coli endotoxin (LPS,30 μg/kg i.v.). Three lectins (DvL, CfL and DguiL), although less intense than LPS, inhibited the neutrophil migration induced by carrageenan (Cg, 300 μg) in a dose-dependent manner (0.1 and 1.0 mg/kg). DvL activity was reversed by 0.1 M α-D-methyl-mannoside (α-CH3), but not by 0.1 M α-D-galactose. The fMLP (44 ng)-induced neutrophil migration was also reduced by these lectins. Endotoxin contamination of lectin samples could be excluded since α-CH3 treatment reversed the DvL effect, but did not modify LPS inhibitory activity. Carrageenan (300 μg)-induced paw oedema was also reduced by LPS or lectin treatments. Conversely, none of the tested lectins inhibited dextran (Dex, 300 μg)-induced paw oedema, a classical leukocyte independent model, or zymosan (Zy, 1.0 mg)-induced peritonitis and paw oedema. LPS showed no effect upon Dex-induced paw oedema and barely reduced (25%) the oedematogenic effects of zymosan. As proposed for LPS, the lectin inhibitory activity was better observed on neutrophil-mediated inflammatory reactions. We speculate that the plant lectin antiinflammatory activity is probably due to a competitive blockage of a common leukocyte and/or endothelial selectin carbohydrate ligand.
The strategic location of mast cells at the host-environment interface and their ability to release potent mediators of inflammation have suggested that these cells may play a pivotal role in host defense against bacterial infection. The ability of the opportunistic pathogen, Escherichia coli, to induce degranulation of mast cells obtained from the mouse peritoneum was investigated. We determined that unlike a mutant derivative deficient in the FimH subunit of the fimbriae or nonfimbriated E. coli, type 1 fimbriated E. coli induced mast cell degranulation in vitro. The magnitude of mast cell degranulation was directly proportional to the number of adherent bacteria on the cell surface in the initial period of the interaction. Using a mouse model of bacterial peritonitis, we demonstrated mast cell degranulation and histamine release by type 1 fimbriated bacteria in vivo. Furthermore, beads coated with FimH but not with FimA, the major subunit of type 1 fimbriae, evoked mast cell release of histamine in vivo in amounts comparable to that elicited by type 1 fimbriated E. coli. These studies reveal that mast cells can be degranulated by interaction with type 1 fimbriated E. coli and that FimH, the mannose-binding component of the fimbriae, is a potent mast cell stimulant.
The pathogenic fungus Paracoccidioides brasiliensis is the agent of paracoccidioidomycosis (PCM). This is a pulmonary mycosis acquired by inhalation of fungal airborne propagules that can disseminate to several organs and tissues leading to a severe form of the disease. Adhesion and invasion to host cells are essential steps involved in the internalization and dissemination of pathogens. Inside the host, P. brasiliensis may use the glyoxylate cycle for intracellular survival.
Here, we provide evidence that the malate synthase of P. brasiliensis (PbMLS) is located on the fungal cell surface, and is secreted. PbMLS was overexpressed in Escherichia coli, and polyclonal antibody was obtained against this protein. By using Confocal Laser Scanning Microscopy, PbMLS was detected in the cytoplasm and in the cell wall of the mother, but mainly of budding cells of the P. brasiliensis yeast phase. PbMLSr and its respective polyclonal antibody produced against this protein inhibited the interaction of P. brasiliensis with in vitro cultured epithelial cells A549.
These observations indicated that cell wall-associated PbMLS could be mediating the binding of fungal cells to the host, thus contributing to the adhesion of fungus to host tissues and to the dissemination of infection, behaving as an anchorless adhesin.