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1.  Biodegradation of Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes by Eosinophil Peroxidase 
Eosinophil peroxidase (EPO) is one of the major oxidant-producing enzymes during inflammatory states in the human lung. The degradation of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) upon incubation with human EPO and H2O2 is reported. Biodegradation of SWCNTs is higher in the presence of NaBr, but neither EPO alone nor H2O2 alone caused the degradation of nanotubes. Molecular modeling reveals two binding sites for SWCNTs on EPO, one located at the proximal side (same side as the catalytic site) and the other on the distal side of EPO. The oxidized groups on SWCNTs in both cases are stabilized by electrostatic interactions with positively charged residues. Biodegradation of SWCNTs can also be executed in an ex vivo culture system using primary murine eosinophils stimulated to undergo degranulation. Biodegradation is proven by a range of methods including transmission electron microscopy, UV-visible-NIR spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy, and confocal Raman imaging. Thus, human EPO (in vitro) and ex vivo activated eosinophils mediate biodegradation of SWCNTs: an observation that is relevant to pulmonary responses to these materials.
PMCID: PMC4039041  PMID: 23447468
2.  Critical and Independent Role for SOCS3 in Either Myeloid or T Cells in Resistance to Mycobacterium tuberculosis 
PLoS Pathogens  2013;9(7):e1003442.
Suppressor of cytokine signalling 3 (SOCS3) negatively regulates STAT3 activation in response to several cytokines such as those in the gp130-containing IL-6 receptor family. Thus, SOCS3 may play a major role in immune responses to pathogens. In the present study, the role of SOCS3 in M. tuberculosis infection was examined. All Socs3fl/fl LysM cre, Socs3fl/fl lck cre (with SOCS3-deficient myeloid and lymphoid cells, respectively) and gp130F/F mice, with a mutation in gp130 that impedes binding to SOCS3, showed increased susceptibility to infection with M. tuberculosis. SOCS3 binding to gp130 in myeloid cells conveyed resistance to M. tuberculosis infection via the regulation of IL-6/STAT3 signalling. SOCS3 was redundant for mycobacterial control by macrophages in vitro. Instead, SOCS3 expression in infected macrophages and DCs prevented the IL-6-mediated inhibition of TNF and IL-12 secretion and contributed to a timely CD4+ cell-dependent IFN-γ expression in vivo. In T cells, SOCS3 expression was essential for a gp130-independent control of infection with M. tuberculosis, but was neither required for the control of infection with attenuated M. bovis BCG nor for M. tuberculosis in BCG-vaccinated mice. Socs3fl/fl lck cre mice showed an increased frequency of γδ+ T cells in different organs and an enhanced secretion of IL-17 by γδ+ T cells in response to infection. Socs3fl/fl lck cre γδ+ T cells impaired the control of infection with M. tuberculosis. Thus, SOCS3 expression in either lymphoid or myeloid cells is essential for resistance against M. tuberculosis via discrete mechanisms.
Author Summary
Tuberculosis is a severe disease caused by infection with the intracellular bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The protein “suppressor of cytokine signalling 3” (SOCS3) inhibits the responses of cells to several cytokines and growth factors that signal via the STAT3 transcription factor. Since STAT3 is a major controller of immune and inflammatory responses, we studied the role of SOCS3 in the control of infection with M. tuberculosis. Mice deficient in the expression of SOCS3 either in myeloid or lymphoid cells were extremely susceptible to infection with M. tuberculosis as measured by elevated bacterial levels, worsened pathology and reduced survival. In myeloid cells, SOCS3 hindered a detrimental role of IL-6. In absence of SOCS3, IL-6 hampered the release of IL-12 by antigen-presenting cells. In T cells, SOCS3-mediated protection was independent of IL-6 signals, and of adequate IFN-γ secretion by antigen-specific T cells. Instead, SOCS3 inhibited the in vivo accumulation of, and the IL-17 secretion by γδ+ T cells. γδ+ T cells accounted in part for the susceptibility to M. tuberculosis infection of mice with SOCS3-deficient T cells. Thus, SOCS3 controls diverse immune mechanisms of myeloid and lymphoid cells that are required for containment of M. tuberculosis.
PMCID: PMC3701707  PMID: 23853585
3.  Migratory Activation of Primary Cortical Microglia upon Infection with Toxoplasma gondii ▿ †  
Infection and Immunity  2011;79(8):3046-3052.
Disseminated toxoplasmosis in the central nervous system (CNS) is often accompanied by a lethal outcome. Studies with murine models of infection have focused on the role of systemic immunity in control of toxoplasmic encephalitis, while knowledge remains limited on the contributions of resident cells with immune functions in the CNS. In this study, the role of glial cells was addressed in the setting of recrudescent Toxoplasma infection in mice. Activated astrocytes and microglia were observed in the close vicinity of foci with replicating parasites in situ in the brain parenchyma. Toxoplasma gondii tachyzoites were allowed to infect primary microglia and astrocytes in vitro. Microglia were permissive to parasite replication, and infected microglia readily transmigrated across transwell membranes and cell monolayers. Thus, infected microglia, but not astrocytes, exhibited a hypermotility phenotype reminiscent of that recently described for infected dendritic cells. In contrast to gamma interferon-activated microglia, Toxoplasma-infected microglia did not upregulate major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II molecules and the costimulatory molecule CD86. Yet Toxoplasma-infected microglia and astrocytes exhibited increased sensitivity to T cell-mediated killing, leading to rapid parasite transfer to effector T cells in vitro. We hypothesize that glial cells and T cells, besides their role in triggering antiparasite immunity, may also act as “Trojan horses,” paradoxically facilitating dissemination of Toxoplasma within the CNS. To our knowledge, this constitutes the first report of migratory activation of a resident CNS cell by an intracellular parasite.
PMCID: PMC3147544  PMID: 21628522
5.  Transmission of Toxoplasma gondii from Infected Dendritic Cells to Natural Killer Cells▿ †  
Infection and Immunity  2009;77(3):970-976.
The obligate intracellular parasite Toxoplasma gondii can actively infect any nucleated cell type, including cells from the immune system. In the present study, we observed that a large number of natural killer (NK) cells were infected by T. gondii early after intraperitoneal inoculation of parasites into C57BL/6 mice. Interestingly, one mechanism of NK cell infection involved NK cell-mediated targeting of infected dendritic cells (DC). Perforin-dependent killing of infected DC led to active egress of infectious parasites that rapidly infected adjacent effector NK cells. Infected NK cells were not efficiently targeted by other NK cells. These results suggest that rapid transfer of T. gondii from infected DC to effector NK cells may contribute to the parasite's sequestration and shielding from immune recognition shortly after infection.
PMCID: PMC2643636  PMID: 19139191
6.  In Vivo Activation of Dendritic Cells and T Cells during Salmonella enterica Serovar Typhimurium Infection 
Infection and Immunity  2001;69(9):5726-5735.
The present study was initiated to gain insight into the interaction between splenic dendritic cells (DC) and Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium in vivo. Splenic phagocytic cell populations associated with green fluorescent protein (GFP)-expressing bacteria and the bacterium-specific T-cell response were evaluated in mice given S. enterica serovar Typhimurium expressing GFP and ovalbumin. Flow cytometry analysis revealed that GFP-positive splenic DC (CD11c+ major histocompatibility complex class II-positive [MHC-II+] cells) were present following bacterial administration, and confocal microscopy showed that GFP-expressing bacteria were contained within CD11c+ MHC-II+ splenocytes. Furthermore, splenic DC and T cells were activated following Salmonella infection. This was shown by increased surface expression of CD86 and CD40 on CD11c+ MHC-II+ cells and increased CD44 and CD69 expression on CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. Salmonella-specific gamma interferon (IFN-γ)-producing cells in both of these T-cell subsets, as well as cytolytic effector cells, were also generated in mice given live bacteria. The frequency of Salmonella-specific CD4+ T cells producing IFN-γ was greater than that of specific CD8+ T cells producing IFN-γ in the same infected animal. This supports the argument that the predominant source of IFN-γ production by cells of the specific immune response is CD4+ T cells. Finally, DC that phagocytosed live or heat-killed Salmonella in vitro primed bacterium-specific IFN-γ-producing CD4+ and CD8+ T cells as well as cytolytic effector cells following administration into naïve mice. Together these data suggest that DC are involved in priming naïve T cells to Salmonella in vivo.
PMCID: PMC98689  PMID: 11500449
7.  Natural Killer Cells Determine Development of Allergen-induced Eosinophilic Airway Inflammation in Mice  
The earliest contact between antigen and the innate immune system is thought to direct the subsequent antigen-specific T cell response. We hypothesized that cells of the innate immune system, such as natural killer (NK) cells, NK1.1+ T cells (NKT cells), and γ/δ T cells, may regulate the development of allergic airway disease. We demonstrate here that depletion of NK1.1+ cells (NK cells and NKT cells) before immunization inhibits pulmonary eosinophil and CD3+ T cell infiltration as well as increased levels of interleukin (IL)-4, IL-5, and IL-12 in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid in a murine model of allergic asthma. Moreover, systemic allergen-specific immunoglobulin (Ig)E and IgG2a levels and the number of IL-4 and interferon γ–producing splenic cells were diminished in mice depleted of NK1.1+ cells before the priming regime. Depletion of NK1.1+ cells during the challenge period only did not influence pulmonary eosinophilic inflammation. CD1d1 mutant mice, deficient in NKT cells but with normal NK cells, developed lung tissue eosinophilia and allergen-specific IgE levels not different from those observed in wild-type mice. Mice deficient in γ/δ T cells showed a mild attenuation of lung tissue eosinophilia in this model. Taken together, these findings suggest a critical role of NK cells, but not of NKT cells, for the development of allergen-induced airway inflammation, and that this effect of NK cells is exerted during the immunization. If translatable to humans, these data suggest that NK cells may be critically important for deciding whether allergic eosinophilic airway disease will develop. These observations are also compatible with a pathogenic role for the increased NK cell activity observed in human asthma.
PMCID: PMC2192913  PMID: 9927517
natural killer cells; NK1.1+ T cells; γ/δ T cells; eosinophils; allergic asthma

Results 1-7 (7)