Mucormycosis is a fungal infection of the sinuses, brain, or lungs that causes a mortality rate of at least 50% despite first-line therapy. Because angioinvasion is a hallmark of mucormycosis infections, we sought to define the endothelial cell receptor(s) for fungi of the order Mucorales (the fungi that cause mucormycosis). Furthermore, since patients with elevated available serum iron, including those with diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), are uniquely susceptible to mucormycosis, we sought to define the role of iron and glucose in regulating the expression of such a receptor. Here, we have identified glucose-regulated protein 78 (GRP78) as what we believe to be a novel host receptor that mediates invasion and damage of human endothelial cells by Rhizopus oryzae, the most common etiologic species of Mucorales, but not Candida albicans or Aspergillus fumigatus. Elevated concentrations of glucose and iron, consistent with those seen during DKA, enhanced GRP78 expression and the resulting R. oryzae invasion and damage of endothelial cells in a receptor-dependent manner. Mice with DKA, which have enhanced susceptibility to mucormycosis, exhibited increased expression of GRP78 in sinus, lungs, and brain compared with normal mice. Finally, GRP78-specific immune serum protected mice with DKA from mucormycosis. These results suggest a unique susceptibility of patients with DKA to mucormycosis and provide a foundation for the development of new therapeutic interventions for these deadly infections.
Mingfu Liu, Brad Spellberg, Quynh T. Phan, Yue Fu, Yong Fu, Amy S. Lee, John E. Edwards Jr., Scott G. Filler, Ashraf S. Ibrahim
Infectious meningitis and encephalitis is caused by invasion of circulating pathogens into the brain. It is unknown how the circulating pathogens dynamically interact with brain endothelium under shear stress, leading to invasion into the brain. Here, using intravital microscopy, we have shown that Cryptococcus neoformans, a yeast pathogen that causes meningoencephalitis, stops suddenly in mouse brain capillaries of a similar or smaller diameter than the organism, in the same manner and with the same kinetics as polystyrene microspheres, without rolling and tethering to the endothelial surface. Trapping of the yeast pathogen in the mouse brain was not affected by viability or known virulence factors. After stopping in the brain, C. neoformans was seen to cross the capillary wall in real time. In contrast to trapping, viability, but not replication, was essential for the organism to cross the brain microvasculature. Using a knockout strain of C. neoformans, we demonstrated that transmigration into the mouse brain is urease dependent. To determine whether this could be amenable to therapy, we used the urease inhibitor flurofamide. Flurofamide ameliorated infection of the mouse brain by reducing transmigration into the brain. Together, these results suggest that C. neoformans is mechanically trapped in the brain capillary, which may not be amenable to pharmacotherapy, but actively transmigrates to the brain parenchyma with contributions from urease, suggesting that a therapeutic strategy aimed at inhibiting this enzyme could help prevent meningitis and encephalitis caused by C. neoformans infection.
Meiqing Shi, Shu Shun Li, Chunfu Zheng, Gareth J. Jones, Kwang Sik Kim, Hong Zhou, Paul Kubes, Christopher H. Mody
Type I IFN has been demonstrated to have major regulatory effects on the outcome of bacterial infections. To assess the effects of exogenously induced type I IFN on the outcome of Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection, we treated pathogen-exposed mice intranasally with polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid condensed with poly-l-lysine and carboxymethylcellulose (Poly-ICLC), an agent designed to stimulate prolonged, high-level production of type I IFN. Drug-treated, M. tuberculosis–infected WT mice, but not mice lacking IFN-αβ receptor 1 (IFNαβR; also known as IFNAR1), displayed marked elevations in lung bacillary loads, accompanied by widespread pulmonary necrosis without detectable impairment of Th1 effector function. Importantly, lungs from Poly-ICLC–treated M. tuberculosis–infected mice exhibited a striking increase in CD11b+F4/80+Gr1int cells that displayed decreased MHC II expression and enhanced bacterial levels relative to the same subset of cells purified from infected, untreated controls. Moreover, both the Poly-ICLC–triggered pulmonary recruitment of the CD11b+F4/80+Gr1int population and the accompanying exacerbation of infection correlated with type I IFN–induced upregulation of the chemokine-encoding gene Ccl2 and were dependent on host expression of the chemokine receptor CCR2. The above findings suggest that Poly-ICLC treatment can detrimentally affect the outcome of M. tuberculosis infection, by promoting the accumulation of a permissive myeloid population in the lung. In addition, these data suggest that agents that stimulate type I IFN should be used with caution in patients exposed to this pathogen.
Lis R.V. Antonelli, Antonio Gigliotti Rothfuchs, Ricardo Gonçalves, Ester Roffê, Allen W. Cheever, Andre Bafica, Andres M. Salazar, Carl G. Feng, Alan Sher
The target of neutralizing antibodies that protect against influenza virus infection is the viral protein HA. Genetic and antigenic variation in HA has been used to classify influenza viruses into subtypes (H1–H16). The neutralizing antibody response to influenza virus is thought to be specific for a few antigenically related isolates within a given subtype. However, while heterosubtypic antibodies capable of neutralizing multiple influenza virus subtypes have been recently isolated from phage display libraries, it is not known whether such antibodies are produced in the course of an immune response to influenza virus infection or vaccine. Here we report that, following vaccination with seasonal influenza vaccine containing H1 and H3 influenza virus subtypes, some individuals produce antibodies that cross-react with H5 HA. By immortalizing IgG-expressing B cells from 4 individuals, we isolated 20 heterosubtypic mAbs that bound and neutralized viruses belonging to several HA subtypes (H1, H2, H5, H6, and H9), including the pandemic A/California/07/09 H1N1 isolate. The mAbs used different VH genes and carried a high frequency of somatic mutations. With the exception of a mAb that bound to the HA globular head, all heterosubtypic mAbs bound to acid-sensitive epitopes in the HA stem region. Four mAbs were evaluated in vivo and protected mice from challenge with influenza viruses representative of different subtypes. These findings reveal that seasonal influenza vaccination can induce polyclonal heterosubtypic neutralizing antibodies that cross-react with the swine-origin pandemic H1N1 influenza virus and with the highly pathogenic H5N1 virus.
Davide Corti, Amorsolo L. Suguitan Jr., Debora Pinna, Chiara Silacci, Blanca M. Fernandez-Rodriguez, Fabrizia Vanzetta, Celia Santos, Catherine J. Luke, Fernando J. Torres-Velez, Nigel J. Temperton, Robin A. Weiss, Federica Sallusto, Kanta Subbarao, Antonio Lanzavecchia
Abs facilitate humoral immunity via the classical mechanisms of opsonization, complement activation, Ab-dependent cellular cytotoxicity, and toxin/viral neutralization. There is also evidence that some Abs mediate direct antimicrobial effects. For example, Ab binding to the polysaccharide capsule of the human pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans promotes opsonization but also inhibits polysaccharide release and biofilm formation. To investigate whether Ab binding affects C. neoformans directly, we analyzed fungal gene expression after binding of protective and nonprotective mAbs. The 2 IgM Abs and 1 IgG1 Ab tested each induced different changes in gene expression. The protective IgG1 mAb upregulated genes encoding proteins involved in fatty acid synthesis, the protective IgM mAb downregulated genes encoding proteins required for protein translation, and the nonprotective IgM mAb had modest effects on gene expression. Differences in gene expression correlated with mAb binding to different locations of the capsule. Of the 3 Abs tested, the protective IgG1 mAb bound to C. neoformans closest to the cell wall, produced specific differences in the pattern of phosphorylated proteins, caused changes in lipid metabolism, and resulted in increased susceptibility to the antifungal drug amphotericin B. These results suggest what we believe to be a new mode of action for Ab-mediated immunity and raise the possibility that immunoglobulins mediate cross talk between microbes and hosts through their effects on microbial metabolism.
Erin E. McClelland, André M. Nicola, Rafael Prados-Rosales, Arturo Casadevall
Receptor tyrosine kinases are involved in multiple cellular processes, and drugs that inhibit their action are used in the clinic to treat several types of cancer. However, the value of receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors (RTKIs) for treating infectious disease has yet to be explored. Here, we have shown in mice that administration of the broad-spectrum RTKI sunitinib maleate (Sm) blocked the vascular remodeling and progressive splenomegaly associated with experimental visceral leishmaniasis. Furthermore, Sm treatment restored the integrity of the splenic microarchitecture. Although restoration of splenic architecture was accompanied by an increase in the frequency of IFN-γ+CD4+ T cells, Sm treatment alone was insufficient to cause a reduction in tissue parasite burden. However, preconditioning by short-term Sm treatment proved to be successful as an adjunct therapy, increasing the frequency of IFN-γ+ and IFN-γ+TNF+CD4+ T cells, enhancing NO production by splenic macrophages, and providing dose-sparing effects when combined with a first-line immune-dependent anti-leishmanial drug. We propose, therefore, that RTKIs may prove clinically useful as agents to restore immune competence before the administration of chemo- or immunotherapeutic drugs in the treatment of visceral leishmaniasis or other diseases involving lymphoid tissue remodeling, including cancer.
Jane E. Dalton, Asher Maroof, Benjamin M.J. Owens, Priyanka Narang, Katherine Johnson, Najmeeyah Brown, Lovisa Rosenquist, Lynette Beattie, Mark Coles, Paul M. Kaye
Lyme disease is caused by transmission of the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi from ticks to humans. Although much is known about B. burgdorferi replication, the routes and mechanisms by which it disseminates within the tick remain unclear. To better understand this process, we imaged live, infectious B. burgdorferi expressing a stably integrated, constitutively expressed GFP reporter. Using isolated tick midguts and salivary glands, we observed B. burgdorferi progress through the feeding tick via what we believe to be a novel, biphasic mode of dissemination. In the first phase, replicating spirochetes, positioned at varying depths throughout the midgut at the onset of feeding, formed networks of nonmotile organisms that advanced toward the basolateral surface of the epithelium while adhering to differentiating, hypertrophying, and detaching epithelial cells. In the second phase of dissemination, the nonmotile spirochetes transitioned into motile organisms that penetrated the basement membrane and entered the hemocoel, then migrated to and entered the salivary glands. We designated the first phase of dissemination “adherence-mediated migration” and provided evidence that it involves the inhibition of spirochete motility by one or more diffusible factors elaborated by the feeding tick midgut. Our studies, which we believe are the first to relate the transmission dynamics of spirochetes to the complex morphological and developmental changes that the midgut and salivary glands undergo during engorgement, challenge the conventional viewpoint that dissemination of Lyme disease–causing spirochetes within ticks is exclusively motility driven.
Star M. Dunham-Ems, Melissa J. Caimano, Utpal Pal, Charles W. Wolgemuth, Christian H. Eggers, Anamaria Balic, Justin D. Radolf
West Nile virus (WNV) causes asymptomatic infection in most humans, but for undefined reasons, approximately 20% of immunocompetent individuals develop West Nile fever, a potentially debilitating febrile illness, and approximately 1% develop neuroinvasive disease syndromes. Notably, since its emergence in 1999, WNV has become the leading cause of epidemic viral encephalitis in North America. We hypothesized that CD4+ Tregs might be differentially regulated in subjects with symptomatic compared with those with asymptomatic WNV infection. Here, we show that in 32 blood donors with acute WNV infection, Tregs expanded significantly in the 3 months after index (RNA+) donations in all subjects. Symptomatic donors exhibited lower Treg frequencies from 2 weeks through 1 year after index donation yet did not show differences in systemic T cell or generalized inflammatory responses. In parallel prospective experimental studies, symptomatic WNV-infected mice also developed lower Treg frequencies compared with asymptomatic mice at 2 weeks after infection. Moreover, Treg-deficient mice developed lethal WNV infection at a higher rate than controls. Together, these results suggest that higher levels of peripheral Tregs after infection protect against severe WNV disease in immunocompetent animals and humans.
Marion C. Lanteri, Katie M. O’Brien, Whitney E. Purtha, Mark J. Cameron, Jennifer M. Lund, Rachel E. Owen, John W. Heitman, Brian Custer, Dale F. Hirschkorn, Leslie H. Tobler, Nancy Kiely, Harry E. Prince, Lishomwa C. Ndhlovu, Douglas F. Nixon, Hany T. Kamel, David J. Kelvin, Michael P. Busch, Alexander Y. Rudensky, Michael S. Diamond, Philip J. Norris
IL-17 and IL-22 have been shown to increase protection against certain bacteria and fungal pathogens in experimental models. However, no human studies have demonstrated a crucial role of IL-17 and IL-22 in protection against infections. We show here that Leishmania donovani, which can cause the lethal visceral disease Kala Azar (KA), stimulates the differentiation of Th17 cells, which produce IL-17, IL-22, and IFN-γ. Analysis of Th1, Th2, and Th17 cytokine responses by cultured PBMCs from individuals in a cohort of subjects who developed KA or were protected against KA during a severe outbreak showed that IL-17 and IL-22 were strongly and independently associated with protection against KA. Our results suggest that, along with Th1 cytokines, IL-17 and IL-22 play complementary roles in human protection against KA, and that a defect in Th17 induction may increase the risk of KA.
Maira G.R. Pitta, Audrey Romano, Sandrine Cabantous, Sandrine Henri, Awad Hammad, Bouréma Kouriba, Laurent Argiro, Musa el Kheir, Bruno Bucheton, Charles Mary, Sayda Hassan El-Safi, Alain Dessein
The activation of type I IFN signaling is a major component of host defense against viral infection, but it is not typically associated with immune responses to extracellular bacterial pathogens. Using mouse and human airway epithelial cells, we have demonstrated that Staphylococcus aureus activates type I IFN signaling, which contributes to its virulence as a respiratory pathogen. This response was dependent on the expression of protein A and, more specifically, the Xr domain, a short sequence–repeat region encoded by DNA that consists of repeated 24-bp sequences that are the basis of an internationally used epidemiological typing scheme. Protein A was endocytosed by airway epithelial cells and subsequently induced IFN-β expression, JAK-STAT signaling, and IL-6 production. Mice lacking IFN-α/β receptor 1 (IFNAR-deficient mice), which are incapable of responding to type I IFNs, were substantially protected against lethal S. aureus pneumonia compared with wild-type control mice. The profound immunological consequences of IFN-β signaling, particularly in the lung, may help to explain the conservation of multiple copies of the Xr domain of protein A in S. aureus strains and the importance of protein A as a virulence factor in the pathogenesis of staphylococcal pneumonia.
Francis J. Martin, Marisa I. Gomez, Dawn M. Wetzel, Guido Memmi, Maghnus O’Seaghdha, Grace Soong, Christian Schindler, Alice Prince
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