The majority of HIV-1 infections worldwide are acquired via mucosal surfaces. However, unlike the vaginal mucosa, the issue of whether the oral mucosa can act as a portal of entry for HIV-1 infection remains controversial. To address potential differences with regard to the fate of HIV-1 after exposure to oral and vaginal epithelium, we utilized two epithelial cell lines representative of buccal (TR146) and pharyngeal (FaDu) sites of the oral cavity and compared them with a cell line derived from vaginal epithelium (A431) in order to determine (i) HIV-1 receptor gene and protein expression, (ii) whether HIV-1 genome integration into epithelial cells occurs, (iii) whether productive viral infection ensues, and (iv) whether infectious virus can be transferred to permissive cells. Using flow cytometry to measure captured virus by HIV-1 gp120 protein detection and western blot to detect HIV-1 p24 gag protein, we demonstrate that buccal, pharyngeal and vaginal epithelial cells capture CXCR4- and CCR5-utilising virus, probably via non-canonical receptors. Both oral and vaginal epithelial cells are able to transfer infectious virus to permissive cells either directly through cell-cell attachment or via transcytosis of HIV-1 across epithelial cells. However, HIV-1 integration, as measured by real-time PCR and presence of early gene mRNA transcripts and de novo protein production were not detected in either epithelial cell type. Importantly, both oral and vaginal epithelial cells were able to support integration and productive infection if HIV-1 entered via the endocytic pathway driven by VSV-G. Our data demonstrate that under normal conditions productive HIV-1 infection of epithelial cells leading to progeny virion production is unlikely, but that epithelial cells can act as mediators of systemic viral dissemination through attachment and transfer of HIV-1 to permissive cells.
The challenge of controlling HIV infection involves an understanding of the heterogeneity of the virus, its wide cellular host range, its primary routes of transmission, and the immunologic and intrinsic cellular factors that can prevent its transmission and replication. Identification of HIV-infected individuals who have survived more than 10 years without signs of the infection and without therapy encourages studies examining the natural mechanisms for resistance to infection and disease. Within the immune system, emphasis should be given to the innate or natural response that appears within minutes of the infection and offers the optimal time for controlling HIV. All these parameters in HIV pathogenesis underline the information needed to develop optimal anti-HIV therapies and an effective AIDS vaccine.
HIV heterogeneity; innate immunity; intracellular antiviral activity
Oropharyngeal candidiasis (OPC), caused primarily by Candida albicans, is the most common oral infection in HIV+ persons. Although Th1-type CD4+ T cells are the predominant host defense mechanism against OPC, CD8+ T cells and epithelial cells become important when blood CD4+ T cells are reduced below a protective threshold during progression to AIDS. In an early cross-sectional study, OPC+ tissue biopsied from HIV+ persons had an accumulation of activated memory CD8+ T cells at the oral epithelial–lamina propria interface, with reduced expression of the adhesion molecule E-cadherin, suggesting a protective role for CD8+ T cells but a dysfunction in the mucosal migration of the cells. In a subsequent 1-year longitudinal study, OPC− patients with high oral Candida colonization (indicative of a preclinical OPC condition), had higher numbers of CD8+ T cells distributed throughout the tissue, with normal E-cadherin expression. In OPC+ patients, where lack of CD8+ T cell migration was associated with reduced E-cadherin, subsequent evaluations following successful treatment of infection revealed normal E-cadherin expression and cellular distribution. Regarding epithelial cell responses, intact oral epithelial cells exhibit fungistatic activity via an acid-labile protein moiety. A proteomic analysis revealed that annexin A1 is a strong candidate for the effector moiety. The current hypothesis is that under reduced CD4+ T cells, HIV+ persons protected from OPC have CD8+ T cells that migrate to the site of a preclinical infection under normal expression of E-cadherin, whereas those with OPC have a transient reduction in E-cadherin that prohibits CD8+ T cells from migrating for effector function. Oral epithelial cells concomitantly function through annexin A1 to keep Candida in a commensal state but can easily be overwhelmed, thereby contributing to susceptibility to OPC.
AIDS; Candida albicans; epithelial cells; T cells; mucosal immunity; cytokines
The AIDS pandemic continues. Little is understood about how HIV gains access to permissive cells across mucosal surfaces, yet such knowledge is crucial to the development of successful topical anti-HIV-1 agents and mucosal vaccines. HIV-1 rapidly internalizes and integrates into the mucosal keratinocyte genome, and integrated copies of HIV-1 persist upon cell passage. The virus does not appear to replicate, and the infection may become latent. Interactions between HIV-1 and oral keratinocytes have been modeled in the context of key environmental factors, including putative copathogens and saliva. In keratinocytes, HIV-1 internalizes within minutes; in saliva, an infectious fraction escapes inactivation and is harbored and transferable to permissive target cells for up to 48 hours. When incubated with the common oral pathogen Porphyromonas gingivalis, CCR5− oral keratinocytes signal through protease-activated receptors and Toll-like receptors to induce expression of CCR5, which increases selective uptake of infectious R5-tropic HIV-1 into oral keratinocytes and transfer to permissive cells. Hence, oral keratinocytes—like squamous keratinocytes of other tissues—may be targets for low-level HIV-1 internalization and subsequent dissemination by transfer to permissive cells.
HIV/AIDS; epithelia; oral epithelium; infectious disease; mucosal immunity; vaccines
In this review, the authors survey the large number of antibacterial and antiviral proteins present in human saliva. Of interest, most of these antibacterial proteins display antiviral activity, typically against specific viral pathogens. The review focuses on one protein that interacts with both bacteria and viruses—gp340, originally referred to as salivary agglutinin. In the oral cavity, soluble gp340 binds to and aggregates a variety of bacteria, and this is thought to increase bacterial clearance from the mouth. However, when bound to the tooth surface, gp340 promotes bacterial adherence. In the oral cavity, most gp340 is found soluble in saliva and can function as a specific inhibitor of infectivity of HIV-1 and influenza A. In contrast, in the female reproductive track, most gp340 is bound to the cell surface, where it can promote HIV-1 infection.
HIV; AIDS; viral; antiviral; innate immune system
The Oral HIV/AIDS Research Alliance is part of the AIDS Clinical Trials Group, the largest HIV clinical trial organization in the world, and it is funded by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, in collaboration with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The alliance’s main objective is to investigate the oral complications associated with HIV/AIDS as the epidemic is evolving—in particular, the effects of potent antiretrovirals on the development of oral mucosal lesions and associated fungal and viral pathogens. Furthermore, oral fluids are being explored for their potential monitoring and diagnostic role with respect to HIV disease and coinfections. This article presents an overview of the alliance, its scientific agenda, and an outline of the novel interventional and noninterventional clinical studies ongoing and developing within the AIDS Clinical Trials Group infrastructure in the United States and internationally.
HIV/AIDS; OHARA; infectious diseases; AIDS Clinical Trials Group; oral cavity
With the advent of treatments and diseases such as AIDS resulting in increasing numbers of patients with suppressed immune systems, fungal diseases are an escalating problem. Candida albicans is the most common of these fungal pathogens, causing infections in many of these patients. It is therefore important to understand how immunity to this fungus is regulated and how it might be manipulated. Although work has been done to identify the receptors, fungal moieties, and responses involved in anti-Candida immunity, most studies have investigated interactions with myeloid or lymphoid cells. Given that the first site of contact of C. albicans with its host is the mucosal epithelial surface, recent studies have begun to focus on interactions of C. albicans with this site. The results are startling yet in retrospect obvious, indicating that epithelial cells play an important role in these interactions, initiating responses and even providing a level of protection. These findings have obvious implications, not just for fungal pathogens, but also for identifying how host organisms can distinguish between commensal and pathogenic microbes. This review highlights some of these recent findings and discusses their importance in the wider context of infection and immunity.
HIV/AIDS; mycology; innate immunity; oral epithelium; fungal pathogens
Viral infections are often associated with salivary gland pathology. Here we review the pathogenesis of HIV-associated salivary gland disease (HIV-SGD), a hallmark of diffuse infiltrative lymphocytosis syndrome. We investigate the presence and contributions of viral diseases to the pathogenesis of salivary gland diseases, particularly HIV-SGD. We have detected BK viral shedding in the saliva of HIV-SGD patients consistent with viral infection and replication, suggesting a role for oral transmission. For further investigation of BKV pathogenesis in salivary glands, an in vitro model of BKV infection is described. Submandibular (HSG) and parotid (HSY) gland salivary cell lines were capable of permissive BKV infection, as determined by BKV gene expression and replication. Analysis of these data collectively suggests the potential for a BKV oral route of transmission and salivary gland pathogenesis within HIV-SGD.
Virus; salivary gland; HIV; DILS
In vivo expression of the developmentally regulated Candida albicans hyphal wall protein 1 (HWP1) gene was analysed in human subjects who were culture positive for C. albicans and had oral symptoms (n=40) or were asymptomatic (n=29), or had vaginal symptoms (n=40) or were asymptomatic (n=29). HWP1 mRNA was present regardless of symptoms, implicating hyphal and possibly pseudohyphal forms in mucosal carriage as well as disease. As expected, in control subjects without oral symptoms (n=10) and without vaginal symptoms (n=10) who were culture negative in oral and vaginal samples, HWP1 mRNA was not detected. However, exposure to Hwp1 in healthy culture-negative controls, as well as in oral candidiasis and asymptomatic mucosal infections, was shown by the existence of local salivary and systemic adaptive antibody responses to Hwp1. The results are consistent with a role for Hwp1 in gastrointestinal colonization as well as in mucosal symptomatic and asymptomatic infections. Overall, Hwp1 and hyphal growth forms appear to be important factors in benign and invasive interactions of C. albicans with human hosts.
We report the creation of a new low-estrogen murine model of concurrent oral and vaginal C. albicans colonization that resembles human candidal carriage at both mucosal sites. Weekly estrogen administration of 5 μg intramuscular and subcutaneously was optimal for enhancement of oral colonization and was essential for vaginal colonization. In BALB/c mice, a number of C. albicans clinical isolates (n = 3) colonized both oral and/or vaginal sites, but only strain 529L colonized 100% of mice persistently for over 5 weeks. Laboratory strains SC5314 and NCPF 3153 did not colonize the model; however, NCPF 3156 showed vaginal colonization up to week 5. Prior passaging through mice enhanced subsequent colonization of SC5314. Intranasal immunization with a C. albicans virulence antigen (secreted aspartyl proteinase 2) significantly reduced or abolished the fungal burden orally and vaginally by week 2 and 7. Our concurrent model of mucosal colonization reduces the numbers of experimental mice by half, can be used to assess potential vaccine candidates, and permits the detailed analysis of host–fungal interactions during the natural state of Candida colonization.
Candida albicans; Animal model; Oral; Vaginal
Host mechanisms enabling discrimination between the commensal and pathogenic states of opportunistic pathogens are critical in mucosal defense and homeostasis. Here, we demonstrate that oral epithelial cells orchestrate an innate response to the human fungal pathogen Candida albicans via NF-κB and a bi-phasic MAPK response. Activation of NF-κB and the first MAPK phase, constituting c-Jun activation, is independent of morphology and due to the recognition of fungal cell wall structures. Activation of the second MAPK phase, constituting MKP1 and c-Fos activation, is dependent upon hypha-formation and fungal burdens, and correlates with proinflammatory responses. This MAPK-based discriminatory pathway may provide a mechanism for epithelial tissues to remain quiescent in the presence of low fungal burdens whilst responding specifically and strongly to damage-inducing hyphae when burdens increase. MAPK/MKP1/c-Fos activation may thus comprise a `danger response' pathway in vivo and may be critical in identifying when this normally commensal fungus has become pathogenic.
Discriminating between commensal and pathogenic states of opportunistic pathogens is critical for host mucosal defense and homeostasis. The opportunistic human fungal pathogen Candida albicans is also a constituent of the normal oral flora and grows either as yeasts or hyphae. We demonstrate that oral epithelial cells orchestrate an innate response to C. albicans via NF-κB and a biphasic MAPK response. Activation of NF-κB and the first MAPK phase, constituting c-Jun activation, is independent of morphology and due to fungal cell wall recognition. Activation of the second MAPK phase, constituting MKP1 and c-Fos activation, is dependent upon hypha formation and fungal burdens and correlates with proinflammatory responses. Such biphasic response may allow epithelial tissues to remain quiescent under low fungal burdens while responding specifically and strongly to damage-inducing hyphae when burdens increase. MAPK/MKP1/c-Fos activation may represent a “danger response” pathway that is critical for identifying and responding to the pathogenic switch of commensal microbes.
► NF-κB and MAPK control epithelial effector responses against Candida albicans ► c-Jun activation is independent of morphology and due to fungal cell wall recognition ► MAPK/MKP-1/c-Fos pathway activation is dependent on fungal hyphae and burdens ► MAPK discriminatory response may dictate C. albicans mucosal colonization in vivo
A quantitative real-time RT-PCR system was established to identify which secreted aspartyl proteinase (SAP) genes are most highly expressed and potentially contribute to Candida albicans infection of human epithelium in vitro and in vivo. C. albicans SC5314 SAP1–10 gene expression was monitored in organotypic reconstituted human epithelium (RHE) models, monolayers of oral epithelial cells, and patients with oral (n=17) or vaginal (n=17) candidiasis. SAP gene expression was also analysed in Δsap1–3, Δsap4–6, Δefg1 and Δefg1/cph1 mutants to determine whether compensatory SAP gene regulation occurs in the absence of distinct proteinase gene subfamilies. In monolayers, RHE models and patient samples SAP9 was consistently the most highly expressed gene in wild-type cells. SAP5 was the only gene significantly upregulated as infection progressed in both RHE models and was also highly expressed in patient samples. Interestingly, the SAP4–6 subfamily was generally more highly expressed in oral monolayers than in RHE models. SAP1 and SAP2 expression was largely unchanged in all model systems, and SAP3, SAP7 and SAP8 were expressed at low levels throughout. In Δsap1–3, expression was compensated for by increased expression of SAP5, and in Δsap4–6, expression was compensated for by SAP2: both were observed only in the oral RHE. Both Δsap1–3 and Δsap4–6 mutants caused RHE tissue damage comparable to the wild-type. However, addition of pepstatin A reduced tissue damage, indicating a role for the Sap family as a whole in inducing epithelial damage. With the hypha-deficient mutants, RHE tissue damage was significantly reduced in both Δefg1/cph1 and Δefg1, but SAP5 expression was only dramatically reduced in Δefg1/cph1 despite the absence of hyphal growth in both mutants. This indicates that hypha formation is the predominant cause of tissue damage, and that SAP5 expression can be hypha-independent and is not solely controlled by the Efg1 pathway but also by the Cph1 pathway. This is believed to be the first study to fully quantify SAP gene expression levels during human mucosal infections; the results suggest that SAP5 and SAP9 are the most highly expressed proteinase genes in vivo. However, the overall contribution of the Sap1–3 and Sap4–6 subfamilies individually in inducing epithelial damage in the RHE models appears to be low.
Several human mucosal fluids are known to possess an innate ability to inhibit human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection and replication in vitro. This study compared the HIV-1 inhibitory activities of several mucosal fluids, whole, submandibular/sublingual (sm/sl), and parotid saliva, breast milk, colostrum, seminal plasma, and cervicovaginal secretions, from HIV-1-seronegative donors by using a 3-day microtiter infection assay. A wide range of HIV-1 inhibitory activity was exhibited in all mucosal fluids tested, with some donors exhibiting high levels of activity while others showed significantly lower levels. Colostrum, whole milk, and whole saliva possessed the highest levels of anti-HIV-1 activity, seminal fluid, cervicovaginal secretions, and sm/sl exhibited moderate levels, and parotid saliva consistently demonstrated the lowest levels of HIV-1 inhibition. Fast protein liquid chromatography gel filtration studies revealed the presence of at least three distinct peaks of inhibitory activity against HIV-1 in saliva and breast milk. Incubation of unfractionated and fractionated whole saliva with antibodies raised against human lactoferrin (hLf), secretory leukocyte protease inhibitor (SLPI), and, to a lesser extent, MG2 (high-molecular-weight mucinous glycoprotein) reduced the HIV-1 inhibitory activity significantly. The results suggest that hLf and SLPI are two key components responsible for HIV-1 inhibitory activity in different mucosal secretions. The variation in HIV inhibitory activity between the fluids and between individuals suggests that there may be major differences in susceptibility to HIV infection depending both on the individual and on the mucosal fluid involved.
Candida albicans is the most common fungal pathogen of humans and has developed an extensive repertoire of putative virulence mechanisms that allows successful colonization and infection of the host under suitable predisposing conditions. Extracellular proteolytic activity plays a central role in Candida pathogenicity and is produced by a family of 10 secreted aspartyl proteinases (Sap proteins). Although the consequences of proteinase secretion during human infections is not precisely known, in vitro, animal, and human studies have implicated the proteinases in C. albicans virulence in one of the following seven ways: (i) correlation between Sap production in vitro and Candida virulence, (ii) degradation of human proteins and structural analysis in determining Sap substrate specificity, (iii) association of Sap production with other virulence processes of C. albicans, (iv) Sap protein production and Sap immune responses in animal and human infections, (v) SAP gene expression during Candida infections, (vi) modulation of C. albicans virulence by aspartyl proteinase inhibitors, and (vii) the use of SAP-disrupted mutants to analyze C. albicans virulence. Sap proteins fulfill a number of specialized functions during the infective process, which include the simple role of digesting molecules for nutrient acquisition, digesting or distorting host cell membranes to facilitate adhesion and tissue invasion, and digesting cells and molecules of the host immune system to avoid or resist antimicrobial attack by the host. We have critically discussed the data relevant to each of these seven criteria, with specific emphasis on how this proteinase family could contribute to Candida virulence and pathogenesis.
Secreted aspartyl proteinases are putative virulence factors in Candida infections. Candida albicans possesses at least nine members of a SAP gene family, all of which have been sequenced. Although the expression of the SAP genes has been extensively characterized under laboratory growth conditions, no studies have analyzed in detail the in vivo expression of these proteinases in human oral colonization and infection. We have developed a reliable and sensitive procedure to detect C. albicans mRNA from whole saliva of patients with oral C. albicans infection and those with asymptomatic Candida carriage. The reverse transcription-PCR protocol was used to determine which of the SAP1 to SAP7 genes are expressed by C. albicans during colonization and infection of the oral cavity. SAP2 and the SAP4 to SAP6 subfamily were the predominant proteinase genes expressed in the oral cavities of both Candida carriers and patients with oral candidiasis; SAP4, SAP5, or SAP6 mRNA was detected in all subjects. SAP1 and SAP3 transcripts were observed only in patients with oral candidiasis. SAP7 mRNA expression, which has never been demonstrated under laboratory conditions, was detected in several of the patient samples. All seven SAP genes were simultaneously expressed in some patients with oral candidiasis. This is the first detailed study showing that the SAP gene family is expressed by C. albicans during colonization and infection in humans and that C. albicans infection is associated with the differential expression of individual SAP genes which may be involved in the pathogenesis of oral candidiasis.