Arcos, J, S J Sasindran, J I Moliva, J M Scordo, S Sidiki, H Guo, P Venigalla, et al. (2017) 2017. “Mycobacterium Tuberculosis Cell Wall Released Fragments by the Action of the Human Lung Mucosa Modulate Macrophages to Control Infection in an IL-10-Dependent Manner”. Mucosal Immunology 10 (5): 1248-58.

Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M.tb), the causative agent of tuberculosis, is a major public health challenge facing the world. During infection, M.tb is deposited in the lung alveolar space where it comes in contact with the lung mucosa, known as alveolar lining fluid (ALF), an environment that M.tb encounters at different stages of the infection and disease. ALF is abundant in homeostatic and antimicrobial hydrolytic enzymes, also known as hydrolases. Here we demonstrate that ALF hydrolases, at their physiological concentrations and upon contact with M.tb, release M.tb cell envelope fragments into the milieu. These released fragments are bioactive, but non-cytotoxic, regulate the function of macrophages, and thus are capable of modulating the immune response contributing to the control of M.tb infection by human macrophages. Specifically, macrophages exposed to fragments derived from the exposure of M.tb to ALF were able to control the infection primarily by increasing phagosome-lysosome fusion and acidification events. This enhanced control was found to be dependent on fragment-induced interleukin-10 (IL-10) production but also involves the STAT3 signaling pathway in an IL-10-independent manner. Collectively our data indicate that M.tb fragments released upon contact with lung mucosa hydrolases participate in the host immune response to M.tb infection through innate immune modulation.

Torrelles, Jordi B, and Larry S Schlesinger. (2017) 2017. “Integrating Lung Physiology, Immunology, and Tuberculosis”. Trends in Microbiology 25 (8): 688-97.

Lungs are directly exposed to the air, have enormous surface area, and enable gas exchange in air-breathing animals. They are constantly 'attacked' by microbes from both outside and inside and thus possess a unique, highly regulated local immune defense system which efficiently allows for microbial clearance while minimizing damaging inflammatory responses. As a prototypic host-adapted airborne pathogen, Mycobacterium tuberculosis traverses the lung and has several 'interaction points' (IPs) which it must overcome to cause infection. These interactions are critical, not only from a pathogenesis perspective but also in considering the effectiveness of therapies and vaccines in the lungs. Here we discuss emerging views on immunologic interactions occurring in the lungs for M. tuberculosis and their impact on infection and persistence.

Hill, Preston J, Julia M Scordo, Jesús Arcos, Stephen E Kirkby, Mark D Wewers, Daniel J Wozniak, and Jordi B Torrelles. (2017) 2017. “Modifications of Pseudomonas Aeruginosa Cell Envelope in the Cystic Fibrosis Airway Alters Interactions With Immune Cells”. Scientific Reports 7 (1): 4761.

Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a ubiquitous environmental organism and an opportunistic pathogen that causes chronic lung infections in the airways of cystic fibrosis (CF) patients as well as other immune-compromised individuals. During infection, P. aeruginosa enters the terminal bronchioles and alveoli and comes into contact with alveolar lining fluid (ALF), which contains homeostatic and antimicrobial hydrolytic activities, termed hydrolases. These hydrolases comprise an array of lipases, glycosidases, and proteases and thus, they have the potential to modify lipids, carbohydrates and proteins on the surface of invading microbes. Here we show that hydrolase levels between human ALF from healthy and CF patients differ. CF-ALF influences the P. aeruginosa cell wall by reducing the content of one of its major polysaccharides, Psl. This CF-ALF induced Psl reduction does not alter initial bacterial attachment to surfaces but reduces biofilm formation. Importantly, exposure of P. aeruginosa to CF-ALF drives the activation of neutrophils and triggers their oxidative response; thus, defining human CF-ALF as a new innate defense mechanism to control P. aeruginosa infection, but at the same time potentially adding to the chronic inflammatory state of the lung in CF patients.

Moliva, Juan I, Joanne Turner, and Jordi B Torrelles. (2017) 2017. “Immune Responses to Bacillus Calmette-Guérin Vaccination: Why Do They Fail to Protect against Mycobacterium tuberculosis?”. Frontiers in Immunology 8: 407.

Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M.tb), the causative agent of tuberculosis (TB), is the current leading cause of death due to a single infectious organism. Although curable, the broad emergence of multi-, extensive-, extreme-, and total-drug resistant strains of M.tb has hindered eradication efforts of this pathogen. Furthermore, computational models predict a quarter of the world's population is infected with M.tb in a latent state, effectively serving as the largest reservoir for any human pathogen with the ability to cause significant morbidity and mortality. The World Health Organization has prioritized new strategies for improved vaccination programs; however, the lack of understanding of mycobacterial immunity has made it difficult to develop new successful vaccines. Currently, Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) is the only vaccine approved for use to prevent TB. BCG is highly efficacious at preventing meningeal and miliary TB, but is at best 60% effective against the development of pulmonary TB in adults and wanes as we age. In this review, we provide a detailed summary on the innate immune response of macrophages, dendritic cells, and neutrophils in response to BCG vaccination. Additionally, we discuss adaptive immune responses generated by BCG vaccination, emphasizing their specific contributions to mycobacterial immunity. The success of future vaccines against TB will directly depend on our understanding of mycobacterial immunity.

Glass, Lisa N, Ganduri Swapna, Sivagami Sundaram Chavadi, JoAnn M Tufariello, Kaixia Mi, Joshua E Drumm, TuKiet T Lam, et al. (2017) 2017. “Mycobacterium Tuberculosis Universal Stress Protein Rv2623 Interacts With the Putative ATP Binding Cassette (ABC) Transporter Rv1747 to Regulate Mycobacterial Growth”. PLoS Pathogens 13 (7): e1006515.

We have previously shown that the Mycobacterium tuberculosis universal stress protein Rv2623 regulates mycobacterial growth and may be required for the establishment of tuberculous persistence. Here, yeast two-hybrid and affinity chromatography experiments have demonstrated that Rv2623 interacts with one of the two forkhead-associated domains (FHA I) of Rv1747, a putative ATP-binding cassette transporter annotated to export lipooligosaccharides. FHA domains are signaling protein modules that mediate protein-protein interactions to modulate a wide variety of biological processes via binding to conserved phosphorylated threonine (pT)-containing oligopeptides of the interactors. Biochemical, immunochemical and mass spectrometric studies have shown that Rv2623 harbors pT and specifically identified threonine 237 as a phosphorylated residue. Relative to wild-type Rv2623 (Rv2623WT), a mutant protein in which T237 has been replaced with a non-phosphorylatable alanine (Rv2623T237A) exhibits decreased interaction with the Rv1747 FHA I domain and diminished growth-regulatory capacity. Interestingly, compared to WT bacilli, an M. tuberculosis Rv2623 null mutant (ΔRv2623) displays enhanced expression of phosphatidyl-myo-inositol mannosides (PIMs), while the ΔRv1747 mutant expresses decreased levels of PIMs. Animal studies have previously shown that ΔRv2623 is hypervirulent, while ΔRv1747 is growth-attenuated. Collectively, these data have provided evidence that Rv2623 interacts with Rv1747 to regulate mycobacterial growth; and this interaction is mediated via the recognition of the conserved Rv2623 pT237-containing FHA-binding motif by the Rv1747 FHA I domain. The divergent aberrant PIM profiles and the opposing in vivo growth phenotypes of ΔRv2623 and ΔRv1747, together with the annotated lipooligosaccharide exporter function of Rv1747, suggest that Rv2623 interacts with Rv1747 to modulate mycobacterial growth by negatively regulating the activity of Rv1747; and that Rv1747 might function as a transporter of PIMs. Because these glycolipids are major mycobacterial cell envelope components that can impact on the immune response, our findings raise the possibility that Rv2623 may regulate bacterial growth, virulence, and entry into persistence, at least in part, by modulating the levels of bacillary PIM expression, perhaps through negatively regulating the Rv1747-dependent export of the immunomodulatory PIMs to alter host-pathogen interaction, thereby influencing the fate of M. tuberculosis in vivo.

Kulkarni, Manjusha M, Annette N Ratcliff, Menakshi Bhat, Yazan Alwarawrah, Philip Hughes, Jesús Arcos, David Loiselle, et al. (2017) 2017. “Cellular Fatty Acid Synthase Is Required for Late Stages of HIV-1 Replication”. Retrovirology 14 (1): 45.

BACKGROUND: Like all viruses, HIV-1 relies on host systems to replicate. The human purinome consists of approximately two thousand proteins that bind and use purines such as ATP, NADH, and NADPH. By virtue of their purine binding pockets, purinome proteins are highly druggable, and many existing drugs target purine-using enzymes. Leveraging a protein affinity media that uses the purine-binding pocket to capture the entire purinome, we sought to define purine-binding proteins regulated by HIV-1 infection.

RESULTS: Using purinome capture media, we observed that HIV-1 infection increases intracellular levels of fatty acid synthase (FASN), a NADPH-using enzyme critical to the synthesis of de novo fatty acids. siRNA mediated knockdown of FASN reduced HIV-1 particle production by 80%, and treatment of tissue culture cells or primary PBMCs with Fasnall, a newly described selective FASN inhibitor, reduced HIV-1 virion production by 90% (EC50 = 213 nM). Despite the requirement of FASN for nascent virion production, FASN activity was not required for intracellular Gag protein production, indicating that FASN dependent de novo fatty acid biosynthesis contributes to a late step of HIV-1 replication.

CONCLUSIONS: Here we show that HIV-1 replication both increases FASN levels and requires host FASN activity. We also report that Fasnall, a novel FASN inhibitor that demonstrates anti-tumor activity in vivo, is a potent and efficacious antiviral, blocking HIV-1 replication in both tissue culture and primary cell models of HIV-1 replication. In adults, most fatty acids are obtained exogenously from the diet, thus making FASN a plausible candidate for pharmacological intervention. In conclusion, we hypothesize that FASN is a novel host dependency factor and that inhibition of FASN activity has the potential to be exploited as an antiretroviral strategy.

Domingo-Gonzalez, Racquel, Shibali Das, Kristin L Griffiths, Mushtaq Ahmed, Monika Bambouskova, Radha Gopal, Suhas Gondi, et al. (2017) 2017. “Interleukin-17 Limits Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1α and Development of Hypoxic Granulomas During Tuberculosis”. JCI Insight 2 (19).

Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) is a global health threat, compounded by the emergence of drug-resistant strains. A hallmark of pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) is the formation of hypoxic necrotic granulomas, which upon disintegration, release infectious Mtb. Furthermore, hypoxic necrotic granulomas are associated with increased disease severity and provide a niche for drug-resistant Mtb. However, the host immune responses that promote the development of hypoxic TB granulomas are not well described. Using a necrotic Mtb mouse model, we show that loss of Mtb virulence factors, such as phenolic glycolipids, decreases the production of the proinflammatory cytokine IL-17 (also referred to as IL-17A). IL-17 production negatively regulates the development of hypoxic TB granulomas by limiting the expression of the transcription factor hypoxia-inducible factor 1α (HIF1α). In human TB patients, HIF1α mRNA expression is increased. Through genotyping and association analyses in human samples, we identified a link between the single nucleotide polymorphism rs2275913 in the IL-17 promoter (-197G/G), which is associated with decreased IL-17 production upon stimulation with Mtb cell wall. Together, our data highlight a potentially novel role for IL-17 in limiting the development of hypoxic necrotic granulomas and reducing disease severity in TB.


Binjawadagi, Basavaraj, Yashavanth Shaan Lakshmanappa, Zhu Longchao, Santosh Dhakal, Jagadish Hiremath, Kang Ouyang, Duan-Liang Shyu, et al. (2016) 2016. “Development of a Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome Virus-Like-Particle-Based Vaccine and Evaluation of Its Immunogenicity in Pigs”. Archives of Virology 161 (6): 1579-89.

Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) is a leading cause of economic burden to the pork industry worldwide. The routinely used modified live PRRS virus vaccine (PRRS-MLV) induces clinical protection, but it has safety concerns. Therefore, in an attempt to develop a safe and protective inactivated PRRSV vaccine, we generated PRRS-virus-like-particles (PRRS-VLPs) containing the viral surface proteins GP5-GP4-GP3-GP2a-M or GP5-M using a novel baculovirus expression system. Our in vitro results indicated that the desired PRRSV proteins were incorporated in both the VLPs preparations based on their reactivity in immunogold electron microscopy and ELISA. To boost their immunogenicity in pigs, we entrapped the PRRS-VLPs in PLGA nanoparticles and coadministered them intranasally with a potent adjuvant. We then evaluated their efficacy in pigs against a viral challenge using a virulent heterologous field isolate. Our results indicated that PRRS-VLPs induced an anamnestic immune response, since we observed boosted IgG and IFN-γ production in vaccinated and virus-challenged animals, but not during the pre-challenge period. Importantly, a two-log reduction in the lung viral load was detected in PRRS-VLP-vaccinated animals. In conclusion, we generated PRRS-VLPs containing up to five viral surface proteins and demonstrated their immunogenicity in pigs, but further studies are required to improve its immunogenicity and efficacy as a vaccine candidate.

Ouyang, Kang, Jagadish Hiremath, Basavaraj Binjawadagi, Duan-Liang Shyu, Santosh Dhakal, Jesús Arcos, Rose Schleappi, et al. (2016) 2016. “Comparative Analysis of Routes of Immunization of a Live Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome Virus (PRRSV) Vaccine in a Heterologous Virus Challenge Study”. Veterinary Research 47: 45.

Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) is caused by PRRS virus (PRRSV), which infects primarily the respiratory tract of pigs. Thus intranasal (IN) delivery of a potent vaccine-adjuvant formulation is promising. In this study, PRRS-MLV (VR2332) was coadministered ± an adjuvant Mycobacterium vaccae whole cell lysate or CpG ODN through intramuscular (IM) or IN route as a mist, and challenged with a heterologous PRRSV 1-4-4 IN at 42 days post-vaccination (dpv). At 14 and 26 dpv, vaccine viral RNA copies were one log greater in the plasma of PRRS-MLV IM compared to IN vaccinated pigs, and the infectious replicating vaccine virus was detected only in the IM group. In PRRS-MLV ± adjuvant IM vaccinated pigs, reduced viral RNA load and absence of the replicating challenged virus was observed at 7, 10 and 14 days post-challenge (dpc). At 14 dpc, in BAL fluid ≥ 5 log viral RNA copies were detected in all the pig groups, but the replicating challenged virus was undetectable only in IM groups. Immunologically, virus neutralizing antibody titers in the plasma of IM (but not IN) vaccine groups was ≥ 8 against the vaccine and challenged viruses. At 26 dpv, PRRS-MLV IM (without adjuvant) received pigs had significantly increased population of CD4 and CD8 T cells in PBMC. At 14 dpc, relatively increased population of IFN-γ(+) total lymphocytes, NK, CD4, CD8 and γδ T cells were observed in the MLV-IM group. In conclusion, PRRS-MLV IM vaccination induced the virus specific T cell response in pigs, but still it is required to improve its cross-protective efficacy.

Scordo, Julia M, Daren L Knoell, and Jordi B Torrelles. (2016) 2016. “Alveolar Epithelial Cells in Mycobacterium tuberculosis Infection: Active Players or Innocent Bystanders?”. Journal of Innate Immunity 8 (1): 3-14.

Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease that kills one person every 18 s. TB remains a global threat due to the emergence of drug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M.tb) strains and the lack of an efficient vaccine. The ability of M.tb to persist in latency, evade recognition following seroconversion, and establish resistance in vulnerable populations warrants closer examination. Past and current research has primarily focused on examination of the role of alveolar macrophages and dendritic cells during M.tb infection, which are critical in the establishment of the host response during infection. However, emerging evidence indicates that the alveolar epithelium is a harbor for M.tb and critical during progression to active disease. Here we evaluate the relatively unexplored role of the alveolar epithelium as a reservoir and also its capacity to secrete soluble mediators upon M.tb exposure, which influence the extent of infection. We further discuss how the M.tb-alveolar epithelium interaction instigates cell-to-cell crosstalk that regulates the immune balance between a proinflammatory and an immunoregulatory state, thereby prohibiting or allowing the establishment of infection. We propose that consideration of alveolar epithelia provides a more comprehensive understanding of the lung environment in vivo in the context of host defense against M.tb.