TLR3 is known to respond to dsRNA from viruses, apoptotic cells, and/or necrotic cells. Dying cells are a rich source of ligands that can activate TLRs, such as TLR3. TLR3 expressed in the liver is likely to be a mediator of innate activation and inflammation in the liver. The importance of this function of TLR3 during acute hepatitis has not previously been fully explored. We used the mouse model of Con A-induced hepatitis and observed a novel role for TLR3 in hepatocyte damage in the absence of an exogenous viral stimulus. Interestingly, TLR3 expression in liver mononuclear cells and sinus endothelial cells was up-regulated after Con A injection and TLR3−/− mice were protected from Con A-induced hepatitis. Moreover, splenocytes from TLR3−/− mice proliferated less to Con A stimulation in the presence of RNA derived from damaged liver tissue compared with wild-type (WT) mice. To determine the relative contribution of TLR3 expression by hematopoietic cells or nonhematopoietic to liver damage during Con A-induced hepatitis, we generated bone marrow chimeric mice. TLR3−/− mice engrafted with WT hematopoietic cells were protected in a similar manner to WT mice reconstituted with TLR3−/− bone marrow, indicating that TLR3 signaling in both nonhematopoietic and hematopoietic cells plays an important role in mediating liver damage. In summary, our data suggest that TLR3 signaling is necessary for Con A-induced liver damage in vivo and that TLR3 regulates inflammation and the adaptive T cell immune response in the absence of viral infection.
Interferon-β is an established treatment for patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) but its mechanisms of action are not well understood. Viral infections are a known trigger of MS relapses. Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are key components of the innate immune system, which sense conserved structures of viruses and other pathogens. Effects of interferon-β on mRNA levels of all known human TLRs (TLR1-10) and the TLR adaptor molecule MyD88 were analyzed in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) of healthy donors by quantitative real-time PCR and by transcriptome analysis in PBMCs of 25 interferon-β-treated patients with relapsing-remitting MS. Regulation of TLR protein expression by interferon-β was investigated by flow cytometry of leukocyte subsets of healthy subjects and of untreated, interferon-β-, or glatiramer acetate-treated patients with MS. Interferon-β specifically upregulated mRNA expression of TLR3, TLR7, and MyD88 and downregulated TLR9 mRNA in PBMCs of healthy donors as well as in PBMCs of patients with MS. Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) were identified as the major cell type responding to interferon-β with increased expression of TLR7 and MyD88 protein. In line with this, expression of TLR7 protein was increased in pDCs of interferon-β-treated, but not untreated or glatiramer acetate-treated patients with MS. Interferon-β-induced upregulation of TLR7 in pDCs is of functional relevance since pre-treatment of PBMCs with interferon-β resulted in a strongly increased production of interferon-α upon stimulation with the TLR7 agonist loxoribine. Flow cytometry confirmed pDCs as the cellular source of interferon-α production induced by activation of TLR7. Thus, upregulation of TLR7 in pDCs and a consequently increased activation of pDCs by TLR7 ligands represents a novel immunoregulatory mechanism of interferon-β. We hypothesize that this mechanism could contribute to a reduction of virus-triggered relapses in patients with MS.
Toll-like receptor (TLR) activation has been implicated in acetaminophen (APAP)-induced hepatotoxicity. Herein, we hypothesize that TLR3 activation significantly contributed to APAP-induced liver injury. In fasted wildtype (WT) mice, APAP caused significant cellular necrosis, edema, and inflammation in the liver, and the de novo expression and activation of TLR3 was found to be necessary for APAP-induced liver failure. Specifically, liver tissues from similarly fasted TLR3-deficient (tlr3−/−) mice exhibited significantly less histological and biochemical evidence of injury after APAP challenge. Similar protective effects were observed in WT mice in which TLR3 was targeted through immunoneutralization at 3 h post-APAP challenge. Among three important death ligands (i.e. TNFα, TRAIL, and FASL) known to promote hepatocyte death after APAP challenge, TNFα was the only ligand that was significantly reduced in APAP-challenged tlr3−/− mice compared with APAP-challenged WT controls. In vivo studies demonstrated that TLR3 activation contributed to TNFα production in the liver presumably via F4/80+ and CD11c+ immune cells. In vitro studies indicated that there was cooperation between TNFα and TLR3 in the activation of JNK signaling in isolated and cultured liver epithelial cells (i.e. nMuLi). Moreover, TLR3 activation enhanced the expression of phosphorylated JNK in APAP injured livers. Thus, the current study demonstrates that TLR3 activation contributes to APAP-induced hepatotoxicity.
The mammalian host has developed a long-standing symbiotic relationship with a considerable number of microbial species. These include the microbiota on environmental surfaces, such as the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracks1, and also endogenous retroviruses (ERVs), comprising a substantial fraction of the mammalian genome2,3. The long-term consequences for the host of interaction with these microbial species can range from mutualism to parasitism and are not always completely understood. The potential impact of one microbial symbiont on another is even less clear. We have studied the control of ERVs in the commonly-used C57BL/6 (B6) mouse strain, which lacks endogenous murine leukaemia viruses (MLVs) able to replicate in murine cells. We demonstrate the spontaneous emergence of fully infectious ecotropic4 MLV (eMLV) in B6 mice with a range of distinct immune deficiencies affecting antibody production. These recombinant retroviruses establish infection of immunodeficient mouse colonies, and ultimately result in retrovirus-induced lymphomas. Notably, ERV activation in immune-deficient mice is prevented in husbandry conditions associated with reduced or absent intestinal microbiota. Our results shed light onto a previously unappreciated role for immunity in the control of ERVs and provide a potential mechanistic link between immune activation by microbial triggers and a range of pathologies associated with ERVs, including cancer.
Morbidity and mortality rates of low birth weight (LBW) newborns at term are higher than rates in normal birth weight (NBW) newborns. LBW newborns are at greater risk to acquire recurrent bacterial and viral infections during their first few weeks of life possibly as an outcome of compromised innate immune functions. As adaptive immunity is in a naive state, increased risk of infection of LBW as compared to NBW newborns may reflect impairments in innate immunity.
To characterize the increased susceptibility to infections in LBW newborns we used microarray technology to identify differences in gene expression in LBW newborns (n = 8) compared to NBW newborns (n = 4) using cord blood. The results obtained from the microarray study were validated on a larger number of samples using real time RT-PCR (LBW = 22, NBW = 18) and western blotting (LBW = 12, NBW = 12). The Interferome database was used to identify interferon (IFN) signature genes and ingenuity pathway analysis identified canonical pathways and biological functions associated with the differentially expressed genes in LBW newborns. ELISAs for IFNs and bactericidal/permeability-increasing protein were performed in both LBW and NBW newborns and in adults (LBW = 18, NBW = 18, Adults = 8).
Upon microarray analysis, we identified 1,391 differentially expressed genes, of which, 1,065 genes were down-regulated and 326 genes were up-regulated in the LBW compared to NBW newborns. Of note, 70 IFN-signature genes were found to be significantly down-regulated in LBW compared to NBW newborns. Ingenuity pathway analysis revealed pattern recognition receptors signaling including Toll-Like Receptors (TLRs) -1, -5, and -8 genes and IFN signaling as the most significantly impacted pathways. Respiratory infectious diseases were the most significantly affected bio-functions in LBW newborns.
Conclusion and Significance
Diminished PRRs, IFN-signature, and BPI gene expression raises the possibility that impairments in these pathways contribute to the susceptibility of LBW term infants to infection.
TLR2 specifically recognizes a wide range of ligands by homodimerizing or heterodimerizing with TLR1 or TLR6. However, the molecular basis of the specific signalling transduction induced by TLR2 homodimerization or heterodimerization with TLR1 or TLR6 is largely unknown. In this study, we found three amino acid residues, two (663L and 688N) outside and one (681P) inside the BB loop, which were conserved in all of the TLRs, except for the TLR3 toll/IL-1R(TIR) domain. The responsiveness of human TLR2/2, TLR2/1 or TLR2/6 was completely lost when 663L and 688N were replaced with the corresponding amino acid residues in the TLR3 TIR domain, respectively. However, the response of TLR2 (P681A) to the high concentration of TLR2/TLR6 agonist was almost intact, but the activity of TLR2 (P681A) was greatly reduced when stimulated with the TLR2/1 agonist or the TLR2/2 agonist. Although the surface expression of TLR2 (L663E) was sharply reduced, both the intracellular distribution and the surface expression of all of the other TLR2 mutants were unchanged. The ability of all three TLR2 mutants to recruit MyD88, was consistent with their responsivenesses. Computer modelling indicated that the surface negative charge of all of the TLR2 mutants' BB loops was reduced. Thus, our data demonstrated that the 663L and 688N residues outside of the BB loop were essential for the responsiveness of TLR2/2, TLR2/1 and TLR2/6, but the 681P residue inside of the BB loop exhibited divergent roles in TLR2/2, TLR2/1 and TLR2/6 signalling transduction, thereby providing clues regarding the specific signalling transduction of TLR2/2, TLR2/1 and TLR2/6.
Cross-talk between NK cells and dendritic cells (DCs) is critical for the potent therapeutic response to dsRNA, but the receptors involved remained controversial. We show in this paper that two dsRNAs, polyadenylic-polyuridylic acid and polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid [poly(I:C)], similarly engaged human TLR3, whereas only poly(I:C) triggered human RIG-I and MDA5. Both dsRNA enhanced NK cell activation within PBMCs but only poly(I:C) induced IFN-γ. Although myeloid DCs (mDCs) were required for NK cell activation, induction of cytolytic potential and IFN-γ production did not require contact with mDCs but was dependent on type I IFN and IL-12, respectively. Poly(I:C) but not polyadenylic-polyuridylic acid synergized with mDC-derived IL-12 for IFN-γ production by acting directly on NK cells. Finally, the requirement of both TLR3 and Rig-like receptor (RLR) on mDCs and RLRs but not TLR3 on NK cells for IFN-γ production was demonstrated using TLR3- and Cardif-deficient mice and human RIG-I–specific activator. Thus, we report the requirement of cotriggering TLR3 and RLR on mDCs and RLRs on NK cells for a pathogen product to induce potent innate cell activation.
Neonates are highly susceptible to infectious diseases and defective antiviral pDC immune responses have been proposed to contribute to this phenomenon. Isolated cord blood pDCs innately responded to a variety of TLR7 and TLR9 dependent viruses, including influenza A virus (IAV), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or herpes-simplex virus (HSV) by efficiently producing IFN-α, TNF-α as well as chemokines. Interestingly, following activation by CpGA, but not viruses, cord pDCs tend to survive less efficiently. We found that a hallmark of pDCs in neonates is an extended CD2+pDCs compartment compared to adult pDCs without affecting the antiviral IFN-α response. Within CD2+pDCs, we identified a subpopulation expressing CD5 and responsible for IL-12p40 production, however this population is significantly decreased in cord blood compared to adult blood. Therefore, neonatal pDCs clearly display variation in phenotype and subset composition, but without major consequences for their antiviral responses.
Several bacterial pathogens have TIR domain-containing proteins that contribute to their pathogenesis. We identified a second TIR-containing protein in Brucella spp. that we have designated BtpB. We show it is a potent inhibitor of TLR signaling, probably via MyD88. BtpB is a novel Brucella effector that is translocated into host cells and interferes with activation of dendritic cells. In vivo mouse studies revealed that BtpB is contributing to virulence and control of local inflammatory responses with relevance in the establishment of chronic brucellosis. Together, our results show that BtpB is a novel Brucella effector that plays a major role in the modulation of host innate immune response during infection.
Brucella; TIR domain; Btp1/BtpA; TLR; DC; NF-κB
Toll-like receptors (TLRs) play essential roles in innate immunity and increasing evidence indicates that these receptors are expressed in neurons, astrocytes and microglia in the brain where they mediate responses to infection, stress and injury. Very little is known about the roles of TLRs in cognition. To test the hypothesis that TLR4 has a role in hippocampus-dependent spatial learning and memory, we used mice deficient for TLR4 and mice receiving chronic TLR4 antagonist infusion to the lateral ventricles in the brain. We found that developmental TLR4 deficiency enhances spatial reference memory acquisition and memory retention, impairs contextual fear-learning and enhances motor functions, traits that were correlated with CREB up-regulation in the hippocampus. TLR4 antagonist infusion into the cerebral ventricles of adult mice did not affect cognitive behavior, but instead affected anxiety responses. Our findings indicate a developmental role for TLR4 in shaping spatial reference memory, and fear learning and memory. Moreover, we show that central TLR4 inhibition using a TLR4 antagonist has no discernible physiological role in regulating spatial and contextual hippocampus-dependent cognitive behavior.
Toll-like receptor (TLR)-dependent pathways control the activation of various immune cells and the production of cytokines and chemokines that are important in innate immune control of viruses, including mouse cytomegalovirus (MCMV). Here we report that upon MCMV infection wild-type and TLR7−/− male mice were more resistant than their female counterparts, while TLR9−/− male and female mice showed similar susceptibility. Interestingly, 36 h upon MCMV infection TLR9 mRNA expression was higher in male than in female mouse spleens. MCMV infection led to stronger reduction of marginal zone (MZ) B cells, and higher infiltration of plasmacytoid dendritic cells and neutrophils in wild-type male than female mice, while no such sex differences were observed in TLR9−/− mice. In accordance, the serum levels of KC and MIP-2, major neutrophil chemoattractants, were higher in wild-type, but not in TLR9−/−, male versus female mice. Wild-type MCMV-infected female mice showed more severe liver inflammation, necrosis and steatosis compared to infected male mice. Our data demonstrate sex differences in susceptibility to MCMV infection, accompanied by a lower activation of the innate immune system in female mice, and can be attributed, at least in a certain degree, to the lower expression of TLR9 in female than male mice.
Group B Streptococcus (GBS) is a leading cause of invasive bacterial infections in human newborns and immune-compromised adults. The pore-forming toxin (PFT) β hemolysin/cytolysin (βh/c) is a major virulence factor for GBS, which is generally attributed to its cytolytic functions. Here we show βh/c has immunomodulatory properties on macrophages at sub-lytic concentrations. βh/c-mediated activation of p38 MAPK drives expression of the anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive cytokine IL-10, and inhibits both IL-12 and NOS2 expression in GBS-infected macrophages, which are critical factors in host defense. Isogenic mutant bacteria lacking βh/c fail to activate p38-mediated IL-10 production in macrophages and promote increased IL-12 and NOS2 expression. Furthermore, targeted deletion of p38 in macrophages increases resistance to invasive GBS infection in mice, associated with impaired IL-10 induction and increased IL-12 production in vivo. These data suggest p38 MAPK activation by βh/c contributes to evasion of host defense through induction of IL-10 expression and inhibition of macrophage activation, a new mechanism of action for a PFT and a novel anti-inflammatory role for p38 in the pathogenesis of invasive bacterial infection. Our studies suggest p38 MAPK may represent a new therapeutic target to blunt virulence and improve clinical outcome of invasive GBS infection.
Our studies show β hemolysin/cytolysin (βh/c) from Group B Streptococcus (GBS), inhibits the activation of macrophages and the innate immune response to GBS. We show that βh/c triggers activation of mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK) in GBS-infected macrophages leading to expression of the anti-inflammatory cytokine interleukin (IL)-10 and the suppression of genes required for effective anti-bacterial immunity. Furthermore, mice deficient in MAPK activation, specifically in macrophages, show increased resistance to invasive GBS infection. Our data describe a new role for a PFT in the evasion of host immunity that may have significant impact on the pathogenesis of invasive bacterial infections, and suggest targeting the signaling pathways triggered by PFTs in immune cells could increase innate immunity and host resistance.
Toll-like receptors (TLR) are key players of the innate and adaptive immune response in vertebrates. The original protein Toll in Drosophila melanogaster regulates both host defense and morphogenesis during development. Making use of real-time PCR, in situ hybridization, and immunohistochemistry we systematically examined the expression of TLR1–9 and the intracellular adaptor molecules MyD88 and TRIF during development of the mouse brain. Expression of TLR7 and TLR9 in the brain was strongly regulated during different embryonic, postnatal, and adult stages. In contrast, expression of TLR1–6, TLR8, MyD88, and TRIF mRNA displayed no significant changes in the different phases of brain development. Neurons of various brain regions including the neocortex and the hippocampus were identified as the main cell type expressing both TLR7 and TLR9 in the developing brain. Taken together, our data reveal specific expression patterns of distinct TLRs in the developing mouse brain and lay the foundation for further investigation of the pathophysiological significance of these receptors for developmental processes in the central nervous system of vertebrates.
Tumor necrosis factor super family (TNFSF) members regulate important processes involved in cell proliferation, survival and differentiation and are therefore crucial for the balance between homeostasis and inflammatory responses. Several members of the TNFSF are closely associated with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Thus, they represent interesting new targets for therapeutic treatment of IBD.
We have used mice deficient in TNFSF member HVEM in experimental models of IBD to investigate its role in the disease process. Two models of IBD were employed: i) chemical-induced colitis primarily mediated by innate immune cells; and ii) colitis initiated by CD4+CD45RBhigh T cells following their transfer into immuno-deficient RAG1-/- hosts. In both models of disease the absence of HVEM resulted in a significant reduction in colitis and inflammatory cytokine production.
These data show that HVEM stimulatory signals promote experimental colitis driven by innate or adaptive immune cells.
IL-33, a member of the IL-1 family of cytokines, provokes Th2-type inflammation accompanied by accumulation of eosinophils through IL-33R, which consists of ST2 and IL-1RAcP. We previously demonstrated that macrophages produce IL-33 in response to LPS. Some immune responses were shown to differ between ST2-deficient mice and soluble ST2-Fc fusion protein-treated mice. Even in anti-ST2 antibody (Ab)-treated mice, the phenotypes differed between distinct Ab clones, because the characterization of such Abs (i.e., depletion, agonistic or blocking Abs) was unclear in some cases.
To elucidate the precise role of IL-33, we newly generated neutralizing monoclonal Abs for IL-33. Exogenous IL-33 potentiated LPS-mediated cytokine production by macrophages. That LPS-mediated cytokine production by macrophages was suppressed by inhibition of endogenous IL-33 by the anti-IL-33 neutralizing mAbs.
Our findings suggest that LPS-mediated macrophage activation is accelerated by macrophage-derived paracrine IL-33 stimulation.
TLRs play an essential role in the induction of immune responses by detecting
conserved molecular products of microorganisms. However, the function of TLR8 is
largely unknown. In the current study, we investigated the role of TLR8 signaling in
immunity in mice. We found that
Tlr8–/– DCs overexpressed
TLR7, were hyperresponsive to various TLR7 ligands, and showed stronger and faster
NF-κB activation upon stimulation with the TLR7 ligand R848.
Tlr8–/– mice showed
splenomegaly, defective development of marginal zone (MZ) and B1 B cells, and
increased serum levels of IgM and IgG2a. Furthermore,
Tlr8–/– mice exhibited
increased serum levels of autoantibodies against small nuclear ribonucleoproteins,
ribonucleoprotein, and dsDNA and developed glomerulonephritis, whereas neither
mice showed any of the phenotypes observed in
Tlr8–/– mice. These data
provide evidence for a pivotal role for mouse TLR8 in the regulation of mouse TLR7
expression and prevention of spontaneous autoimmunity.
Dendritic cells (DC) are key players in the initiation and modulation of adaptive immune responses due to their ability to acquire and present antigen and stimulate T cells. For the induction of effector T cell functions, antigen must be presented by activated DC. In this study, we have compared uptake of antigen by mouse DC in the presence of different Toll-like receptor (TLR) agonists, which are potent inducers of DC activation. Here we show that the reduction in uptake of soluble antigen in the presence of the viral double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) analogues polyinosinic–polycytidylic acid and Ampligen is independent of TLR-mediated DC activation. A reduction in antigen uptake by bone marrow-derived and splenic DC was also observed in response to other RNA homopolymers such as polyinosinic and polyguanylic acids, which are known inhibitors of scavenger receptor-mediated endocytosis. Pinocytosis and mannose receptor-mediated uptake of soluble antigen were not affected by any of the tested nucleic acids. The reduction in antigen uptake by dsRNA did not negatively influence the T cell stimulating properties of the DC. In summary, we conclude that the decrease in antigen endocytosis observed in the presence of a variety of TLR agonists is independent of TLR signalling and is caused by competition for specific surface receptors that are involved in the uptake of these TLR agonists and the antigen.
antigen uptake; dendritic cells; endocytosis; Toll-like receptors
Macrophages are the first line of defense against pathogens. Upon infection macrophages usually produce high levels of proinflammatory mediators. However, macrophages can undergo an alternate polarization leading to a permissive state. In assessing global macrophage responses to the bacterial agent of Whipple's disease, Tropheryma whipplei, we found that T. whipplei induced M2 macrophage polarization which was compatible with bacterial replication. Surprisingly, this M2 polarization of infected macrophages was associated with apoptosis induction and a functional type I interferon (IFN) response, through IRF3 activation and STAT1 phosphorylation. Using macrophages from mice deficient for the type I IFN receptor, we found that this type I IFN response was required for T. whipplei-induced macrophage apoptosis in a JNK-dependent manner and was associated with the intracellular replication of T. whipplei independently of JNK. This study underscores the role of macrophage polarization in host responses and highlights the detrimental role of type I IFN during T. whipplei infection.
Innate immune cells are sentinels allowing the host to sense invading pathogens. Among them, macrophages are highly microbicidal and are able to kill microorganisms. However, several pathogens have evolved strategies to hijack macrophage responses in order to survive or replicate. Tropheryma whipplei is the agent of Whipple's disease, a systemic disease that associates arthropathy, weight loss and gastrointestinal symptoms. It has been known for several years that this bacterium has a tropism for macrophages, in which it replicates. In this study, we have shown that T. whipplei induces host cell apoptosis and a surprising macrophage activation, characterized by anti-inflammatory molecules and type I interferon (IFN) signaling, which is generally associated to viral infections. We demonstrate that this type I IFN response is critical for bacterial pathogenicity, as it is required for bacterial replication and provides the first step of the apoptotic program of infected macrophages. By identifying these signaling events induced in macrophage by T. whipplei, we can now better understand the molecular basis of the pathophysiology of Whipple's disease, of interest for clinical and therapeutic ends.
Tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) plays a critical role in the recruitment and activation of mononuclear cells in mycobacterial infection. The role of membrane TNF, in host resistance against Mycobacterium bovis bacille Calmette–Guérin (BCG), was tested in knock-in mice in which the endogenous TNF was replaced by a non-cleavable and regulated allele (Δ1–12, TNFtm/tm). While 100% of mice with complete TNF deficiency (TNF−/−) succumbed to infection, 50% of TNFtm/tm mice were able to control M. bovis BCG infection and survived the experimental period. Membrane expressed TNF allowed a substantial recruitment of activated T cells and macrophages with granuloma formation and expression of bactericidal inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS). Using virulent Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection we confirm that membrane TNF conferred partial protection. Infection in TNFtm/tm double transgenic mice with TNF-R1 or TNF-R2 suggest protection is mediated through TNF-R2 signalling. Therefore, the data suggest that membrane-expressed TNF plays a critical role in host defence to mycobacterial infection and may partially substitute for soluble TNF.
BCG; granuloma; H37Rv; membrane Δ1-12 TNF; Mycobacterium; T-cell recruitment; TNF-deficiency
MyD88-dependent signaling is important for secretion of early inflammatory cytokines and host protection in response to Legionella pneumophila infection. Although TLR2 contributes to MyD88-dependent clearance of L. pneumophila, TLR-independent functions of MyD88 could also be important. To determine why MyD88 is critical for host protection to L. pneumophila the contribution of multiple TLRs and IL-18 receptor (IL-18R)-dependent IFN-γ production in a mouse. Mice deficient for TLR5 or TLR9, or deficient for TLR2 along with either TLR5 or TLR9, were competent for controlling bacterial replication and had no apparent defects in cytokine production compared to control mice. MyD88-dependent production of IFN-γ in the lung was mediated primarily by NK cells and required IL-18R signaling. Reducing IFN-γ levels did not greatly affect the kinetics of L. pneumophila replication or clearance in infected mice. Additionally, IFN-γ-deficient mice did not have a susceptibility phenotype as severe as the MyD88-deficient mice and were able to control a pulmonary infection by L. pneumophila. Thus, MyD88-dependent innate immune responses induced by L. pneumophila involve both TLR-dependent responses and IL-18R-dependent production of IFN-γ by NK cells, and these MyD88-dependent pathways can function independently to provide host protection against an intracellular pathogen.
Replicon plasmids encoding an alphavirus RNA replicase constitute an alternative to conventional DNA plasmids with promise for DNA vaccination in humans. Replicase activity amplifies the levels of transgene mRNA through a copying process involving double-stranded (ds) RNA intermediates, which contribute to vaccine immunogenicity by activating innate antiviral responses. Toll-like receptor (TLR) 3 is a dsRNA innate immune receptor expressed by antigen-presenting dendritic cells (DC). Here, we test the hypothesis that TLR3 is necessary for the immunogenicity of replicon plasmid based DNA vaccines. We show that mouse CD8α+ DC phagocytose dying replicon plasmid-transfected cells in vitro and are activated in a TLR3-dependent fashion by dsRNA present within those cells. However, we find that cytotoxic T cell responses to a replicon plasmid intramuscular vaccine are not diminished in the absence of TLR3 in vivo. Our results underscore the potential role of TLR3 in mediating immune activation by dsRNA-bearing replicon plasmid transfected cells and indicate that other innate sensing pathways can compensate for TLR3 absence in vivo.
dendritic cells; toll-like receptors; double-stranded RNA; replicon vaccines
The immune mechanisms associated with infection-induced disease exacerbations in asthma and COPD are not fully understood. Toll-like receptor (TLR) 3 has an important role in recognition of double-stranded viral RNA, which leads to the production of various inflammatory mediators. Thus, an understanding of TLR3 activation should provide insight into the mechanisms underlying virus-induced exacerbations of pulmonary diseases.
TLR3 knock-out (KO) mice and C57B6 (WT) mice were intranasally administered repeated doses of the synthetic double stranded RNA analog poly(I:C).
There was a significant increase in total cells, especially neutrophils, in BALF samples from poly(I:C)-treated mice. In addition, IL-6, CXCL10, JE, KC, mGCSF, CCL3, CCL5, and TNFα were up regulated. Histological analyses of the lungs revealed a cellular infiltrate in the interstitium and epithelial cell hypertrophy in small bronchioles. Associated with the pro-inflammatory effects of poly(I:C), the mice exhibited significant impairment of lung function both at baseline and in response to methacholine challenge as measured by whole body plethysmography and an invasive measure of airway resistance. Importantly, TLR3 KO mice were protected from poly(I:C)-induced changes in lung function at baseline, which correlated with milder inflammation in the lung, and significantly reduced epithelial cell hypertrophy.
These findings demonstrate that TLR3 activation by poly(I:C) modulates the local inflammatory response in the lung and suggest a critical role of TLR3 activation in driving lung function impairment. Thus, TLR3 activation may be one mechanism through which viral infections contribute toward exacerbation of respiratory disease.
Activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID) expressed by germinal center B cells is a central regulator of somatic hypermutation (SHM) and class switch recombination (CSR). Humans with AID mutations develop not only the autosomal recessive form of hyper-IgM syndrome (HIGM2) associated with B cell hyperplasia, but also autoimmune disorders by unknown mechanisms. We report here that AID−/− mice spontaneously develop tertiary lymphoid organs (TLOs) in non-lymphoid tissues including the stomach at around 6 months of age. At a later stage, AID−/− mice develop a severe gastritis characterized by loss of gastric glands and epithelial hyperplasia. The disease development was not attenuated even under germ-free (GF) conditions. Gastric autoantigen -specific serum IgM was elevated in AID−/− mice, and the serum levels correlated with the gastritis pathological score. Adoptive transfer experiments suggest that autoimmune CD4+ T cells mediate gastritis development as terminal effector cells. These results suggest that abnormal B-cell expansion due to AID deficiency can drive B-cell autoimmunity, and in turn promote TLO formation, which ultimately leads to the propagation of organ-specific autoimmune effector CD4+ T cells. Thus, AID plays an important role in the containment of autoimmune diseases by negative regulation of autoreactive B cells.
Brucella is an intracellular pathogen able to persist for long periods of time within the host and establish a chronic disease. We show that soon after Brucella inoculation in intestinal loops, dendritic cells from ileal Peyer's patches become infected and constitute a cell target for this pathogen. In vitro, we found that Brucella replicates within dendritic cells and hinders their functional activation. In addition, we identified a new Brucella protein Btp1, which down-modulates maturation of infected dendritic cells by interfering with the TLR2 signaling pathway. These results show that intracellular Brucella is able to control dendritic cell function, which may have important consequences in the development of chronic brucellosis.
A key determinant for intracellular pathogenic bacteria to induce infectious diseases is their ability to avoid recognition by the host immune system. Although most microorganisms internalized by host cells are efficiently cleared, Brucella behave as a Trojan horse causing a zoonosis called brucellosis that affects both humans and animals. Here we show that pathogenic Brucella are able to target host cell defense mechanisms by controlling the function of the sentinels of the immune system, the dendritic cells. In particular, the Brucella TIR-containing protein (Btp1) targets the Toll-like receptor 2 activation pathway, which is a major host response system involved in bacterial recognition. Btp1 is involved in the inhibition of dendritic cell maturation. The direct consequence is a control of inflammatory cytokine secretion and antigen presentation to T lymphocytes. These bacterial proteins are not specific for Brucella and have been identified in other pathogens and may be part of a general virulence mechanism used by several intracellular pathogens to induce disease.
Plexins are a large family of transmembrane receptors for the Semaphorins, known for their role in the assembly of neural circuitry. More recently, Plexins have been implicated in diverse biological functions, including vascular growth, epithelial tissue morphogenesis and tumour development. In particular, PlexinB1, the receptor for Sema4D, has been suggested to play a role in neural development and in tumour angiogenesis, based on in vitro studies. However, the tissue distribution of PlexinB1 has not been extensively studied and the functional relevance of this receptor in vivo still awaits experimental testing. In order to shed light on PlexinB1 function in vivo, we therefore undertook the genomic targeting of the mouse gene to obtain loss of function mutants.
This study shows that PlexinB1 receptor and its putative ligand, Sema4D, have a selective distribution in nervous and epithelial tissues during development and in the adult. PlexinB1 and Sema4D show largely complementary cell distribution in tissues, consistent with the idea that PlexinB1 acts as the receptor for Sema4D in vivo. Interestingly, PlexinB1 is also expressed in certain tissues in the absence of Sema4D, suggesting Sema4D independent activities. High expression of PlexinB1 was found in lung, kidney, liver and cerebellum.
Mutant mice lacking expression of semaphorin receptor PlexinB1 are viable and fertile. Although the axon collapsing activity of Sema4D is impaired in PlexinB1 deficient neurons, we could not detect major defects in development, or in adult histology and basic functional parameters of tissues expressing PlexinB1. Moreover, in the absence of PlexinB1 the angiogenic response induced by orthotopically implanted tumours was not affected, suggesting that the expression of this semaphorin receptor in endothelial cells is redundant.
Our expression analysis suggests a multifaceted role of PlexinB1 during mouse development and tissue homeostasis in the adult. Nonetheless, the genetic deletion of PlexinB1 does not result in major developmental defects or clear functional abnormalities. We infer that PlexinB1 plays a redundant role in mouse development and it is not strictly required for tumour induced angiogenesis.