Microbiology & Immunology - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 665
Dissecting the antibody constant region protective immune parameters in HIV infection
(Future Medicine Ltd., 2014)
RV144 vaccine immune-correlates analysis has generated a renewed interest in understanding the potentially protective role of non-neutralizing antibodies in HIV infection and vaccine design. Antibodies consist of a variable region involved in antigen binding and a constant region. While both ends of the antibody collaborate to induce protective immunity, it is through the constant portion that an antibody provides instructions to the innate immune system on how the recognized antigen should be processed, contributing directly to antiviral immunity. Antibody constant regions, despite their name, are not uniform structures, but can vary both in protein sequence and glycosylation, together modulating antibody functionality via conformational changes that alter antibody affinity for Fc receptors, complement and so on. This review will focus on how the immune system naturally modulates the Fc domain of antibodies to achieve optimum protective Fc effector responses for vaccine and monoclonal therapeutic design efforts aimed at preventing or curing HIV infection.
Complete Genome Sequence of the Frog Pathogen Mycobacterium ulcerans Ecovar Liflandii
(AMER SOC MICROBIOLOGY, 2013-02-01)
In 2004, a previously undiscovered mycobacterium resembling Mycobacterium ulcerans (the agent of Buruli ulcer) was reported in an outbreak of a lethal mycobacteriosis in a laboratory colony of the African clawed frog Xenopus tropicalis. This mycobacterium makes mycolactone and is one of several strains of M. ulcerans-like mycolactone-producing mycobacteria recovered from ectotherms around the world. Here, we describe the complete 6,399,543-bp genome of this frog pathogen (previously unofficially named "Mycobacterium liflandii"), and we show that it has undergone an intermediate degree of reductive evolution between the M. ulcerans Agy99 strain and the fish pathogen Mycobacterium marinum M strain. Like M. ulcerans Agy99, it has the pMUM mycolactone plasmid, over 200 chromosomal copies of the insertion sequence IS2404, and a high proportion of pseudogenes. However, M. liflandii has a larger genome that is closer in length, sequence, and architecture to M. marinum M than to M. ulcerans Agy99, suggesting that the M. ulcerans Agy99 strain has undergone accelerated evolution. Scrutiny of the genes specifically lost suggests that M. liflandii is a tryptophan, tyrosine, and phenylalanine auxotroph. A once-extensive M. marinum-like secondary metabolome has also been diminished through reductive evolution. Our analysis shows that M. liflandii, like M. ulcerans Agy99, has the characteristics of a niche-adapted mycobacterium but also has several distinctive features in important metabolic pathways that suggest that it is responding to different environmental pressures, supporting earlier proposals that it could be considered an M. ulcerans ecotype, hence the name M. ulcerans ecovar Liflandii.
Suppressor of Cytokine Signaling 4 (SOCS4) Protects against Severe Cytokine Storm and Enhances Viral Clearance during Influenza Infection
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2014-05-01)
Suppressor of cytokine signaling (SOCS) proteins are key regulators of innate and adaptive immunity. There is no described biological role for SOCS4, despite broad expression in the hematopoietic system. We demonstrate that mice lacking functional SOCS4 protein rapidly succumb to infection with a pathogenic H1N1 influenza virus (PR8) and are hypersusceptible to infection with the less virulent H3N2 (X31) strain. In SOCS4-deficient animals, this led to substantially greater weight loss, dysregulated pro-inflammatory cytokine and chemokine production in the lungs and delayed viral clearance. This was associated with impaired trafficking of influenza-specific CD8 T cells to the site of infection and linked to defects in T cell receptor activation. These results demonstrate that SOCS4 is a critical regulator of anti-viral immunity.
CD8(+) T Cells from a Novel T Cell Receptor Transgenic Mouse Induce Liver-Stage Immunity That Can Be Boosted by Blood-Stage Infection in Rodent Malaria
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2014-05-01)
To follow the fate of CD8(+) T cells responsive to Plasmodium berghei ANKA (PbA) infection, we generated an MHC I-restricted TCR transgenic mouse line against this pathogen. T cells from this line, termed PbT-I T cells, were able to respond to blood-stage infection by PbA and two other rodent malaria species, P. yoelii XNL and P. chabaudi AS. These PbT-I T cells were also able to respond to sporozoites and to protect mice from liver-stage infection. Examination of the requirements for priming after intravenous administration of irradiated sporozoites, an effective vaccination approach, showed that the spleen rather than the liver was the main site of priming and that responses depended on CD8 alpha(+) dendritic cells. Importantly, sequential exposure to irradiated sporozoites followed two days later by blood-stage infection led to augmented PbT-I T cell expansion. These findings indicate that PbT-I T cells are a highly versatile tool for studying multiple stages and species of rodent malaria and suggest that cross-stage reactive CD8(+) T cells may be utilized in liver-stage vaccine design to enable boosting by blood-stage infections.
Global Impact of Salmonella Pathogenicity Island 2-secreted Effectors on the Host Phosphoproteome
(AMER SOC BIOCHEMISTRY MOLECULAR BIOLOGY INC, 2013-06-27)
During the late stages of infection, Salmonella secretes numerous effectors through a type III secretion system that is encoded within Salmonella pathogenicity island 2 (SPI2). Despite the importance of SPI2 as a major virulence factor leading to the systemic spread of the bacteria and diseases, a global view of its effects on host responses is still lacking. Here, we measured global impacts of SPI2 effectors on the host phosphorylation and protein expression levels in RAW264.7 and in HeLa cells, as macrophage and nonphagocytic models of infection. We observe that SPI2 effectors differentially modulate the host phosphoproteome and cellular processes (e. g. protein trafficking, cytoskeletal regulation, and immune signaling) in a host cell-dependent manner. Our unbiased approach reveals the involvement of many previously un-recognized proteins, including E3 ligases (HERC4, RanBP2, and RAD18), kinases (CDK, SIK3, and WNK1), and histones (H2B1F, H4, and H15), in late stages of Salmonella infection. Furthermore, from this phosphoproteome analysis and other quantitative screens, we identified HSP27 as a direct in vitro and in vivo molecular target of the only type III secreted kinase, SteC. Using biochemical and cell biological assays, we demonstrate that SteC phosphorylates multiple sites in HSP27 and induces actin rearrangement through this protein. Together, these results provide a broader landscape of host players contributing to specific processes/pathways mediated by SPI2 effectors than was previously appreciated.
Neuraminidase-Inhibiting Antibody Is a Correlate of Cross-Protection against Lethal H5N1 Influenza Virus in Ferrets Immunized with Seasonal Influenza Vaccine
(AMER SOC MICROBIOLOGY, 2013-03-27)
In preparing for the threat of a pandemic of avian H5N1 influenza virus, we need to consider the significant delay (4 to 6 months) necessary to produce a strain-matched vaccine. As some degree of cross-reactivity between seasonal influenza vaccines and H5N1 virus has been reported, this was further explored in the ferret model to determine the targets of protective immunity. Ferrets were vaccinated with two intramuscular inoculations of trivalent inactivated split influenza vaccine or subcomponent vaccines, with and without adjuvant, and later challenged with a lethal dose of A/Vietnam/1203/2004 (H5N1) influenza virus. We confirmed that vaccination with seasonal influenza vaccine afforded partial protection against lethal H5N1 challenge and showed that use of either AlPO4 or Iscomatrix adjuvant with the vaccine resulted in complete protection against disease and death. The protection was due exclusively to the H1N1 vaccine component, and although the hemagglutinin contributed to protection, the dominant protective response was targeted toward the neuraminidase (NA) and correlated with sialic acid cleavage-inhibiting antibody titers. Purified heterologous NA formulated with Iscomatrix adjuvant was also protective. These results suggest that adjuvanted seasonal trivalent vaccine could be used as an interim measure to decrease morbidity and mortality from H5N1 prior to the availability of a specific vaccine. The data also highlight that an inducer of cross-protective immunity is the NA, a protein whose levels are not normally monitored in vaccines and whose capacity to induce immunity in recipients is not normally assessed.
In Vivo IFN-gamma Secretion by NK Cells in Response to Salmonella Typhimurium Requires NLRC4 Inflammasomes
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2014)
Natural killer (NK) cells are a critical part of the innate immune defense against viral infections and for the control of tumors. Much less is known about how NK cells contribute to anti-bacterial immunity. NK cell-produced interferon gamma (IFN-gamma) contributes to the control of early exponential replication of bacterial pathogens, however the regulation of these events remains poorly resolved. Using a mouse model of invasive Salmonellosis, here we report that the activation of the intracellular danger sensor NLRC4 by Salmonella-derived flagellin within CD11c(+) cells regulates early IFN-gamma secretion by NK cells through the provision of interleukin 18 (IL-18), independently of Toll-like receptor (TLR)-signaling. Although IL18-signalling deficient NK cells improved host protection during S. Typhimurium infection, this increased resistance was inferior to that provided by wild-type NK cells. These findings suggest that although NLRC4 inflammasome-driven secretion of IL-18 serves as a potent activator of NK cell mediated IFN-gamma secretion, IL18-independent NK cell-mediated mechanisms of IFN-gamma secretion contribute to in vivo control of Salmonella replication.
Playing Hide and Seek: How Glycosylation of the Influenza Virus Hemagglutinin Can Modulate the Immune Response to Infection
(MDPI AG, 2014)
Seasonal influenza A viruses (IAV) originate from pandemic IAV and have undergone changes in antigenic structure, including addition of glycans to the hemagglutinin (HA) glycoprotein. The viral HA is the major target recognized by neutralizing antibodies and glycans have been proposed to shield antigenic sites on HA, thereby promoting virus survival in the face of widespread vaccination and/or infection. However, addition of glycans can also interfere with the receptor binding properties of HA and this must be compensated for by additional mutations, creating a fitness barrier to accumulation of glycosylation sites. In addition, glycans on HA are also recognized by phylogenetically ancient lectins of the innate immune system and the benefit provided by evasion of humoral immunity is balanced by attenuation of infection. Therefore, a fine balance must exist regarding the optimal pattern of HA glycosylation to offset competing pressures associated with recognition by innate defenses, evasion of humoral immunity and maintenance of virus fitness. In this review, we examine HA glycosylation patterns of IAV associated with pandemic and seasonal influenza and discuss recent advancements in our understanding of interactions between IAV glycans and components of innate and adaptive immunity.
Adaptive Change Inferred from Genomic Population Analysis of the ST93 Epidemic Clone of Community-Associated Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus
(OXFORD UNIV PRESS, 2014)
Community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) has emerged as a major public health problem around the world. In Australia, ST93-IV[2B] is the dominant CA-MRSA clone and displays significantly greater virulence than other S. aureus. Here, we have examined the evolution of ST93 via genomic analysis of 12 MSSA and 44 MRSA ST93 isolates, collected from around Australia over a 17-year period. Comparative analysis revealed a core genome of 2.6 Mb, sharing greater than 99.7% nucleotide identity. The accessory genome was 0.45 Mb and comprised additional mobile DNA elements, harboring resistance to erythromycin, trimethoprim, and tetracycline. Phylogenetic inference revealed a molecular clock and suggested that a single clone of methicillin susceptible, Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL) positive, ST93 S. aureus likely spread from North Western Australia in the early 1970s, acquiring methicillin resistance at least twice in the mid 1990s. We also explored associations between genotype and important MRSA phenotypes including oxacillin MIC and production of exotoxins (alpha-hemolysin [Hla], delta-hemolysin [Hld], PSM alpha 3, and PVL). High-level expression of Hla is a signature feature of ST93 and reduced expression in eight isolates was readily explained by mutations in the agr locus. However, subtle but significant decreases in Hld were also noted over time that coincided with decreasing oxacillin resistance and were independent of agr mutations. The evolution of ST93 S. aureus is thus associated with a reduction in both exotoxin expression and oxacillin MIC, suggesting MRSA ST93 isolates are under pressure for adaptive change.
Natural killer T cell defects in multiple myeloma and the impact of lenalidomide therapy
The causes of multiple myeloma (MM) remain obscure and there are few known risk factors; however, natural killer T (NKT) cell abnormalities have been reported in patients with MM, and therapeutic targeting of NKT cells is promoted as a potential treatment. We characterized NKT cell defects in treated and untreated patients with MM and determined the impact of lenalidomide therapy on the NKT cell pool. Lenalidomide is an immunomodulatory drug with co-stimulatory effects on NKT cells in vitro and is an approved treatment for MM, although its mode of action in that context is not well defined. We find that patients with relapsed/progressive MM had a marked deficiency in NKT cell numbers. In contrast, newly diagnosed patients had relatively normal NKT cell frequency and function prior to treatment, although a specific NKT cell deficiency emerged after high-dose melphalan and autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT) regimen. This also impacted NK cells and conventional T cells, but the recovery of NKT cells was considerably delayed, resulting in a prolonged, treatment-induced NKT cell deficit. Longitudinal analysis of individual patients revealed that lenalidomide therapy had no in-vivo impact on NKT cell numbers or cytokine production, either as induction therapy, or as maintenance therapy following ASCT, indicating that its clinical benefits in this setting are independent of NKT cell modulation.
CD1d protein structure determines species-selective antigenicity of isoglobotrihexosylceramide (iGb3) to invariant NKT cells
Isoglobotrihexosylceramide (iGb3) has been identified as a potent CD1d-presented self-antigen for mouse invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells. The role of iGb3 in humans remains unresolved, however, as there have been conflicting reports about iGb3-dependent human iNKT-cell activation, and humans lack iGb3 synthase, a key enzyme for iGb3 synthesis. Given the importance of human immune responses, we conducted a human-mouse cross-species analysis of iNKT-cell activation by iGb3-CD1d. Here we show that human and mouse iNKT cells were both able to recognise iGb3 presented by mouse CD1d (mCD1d), but not human CD1d (hCD1d), as iGb3-hCD1d was unable to support cognate interactions with the iNKT-cell TCRs tested in this study. The structural basis for this discrepancy was identified as a single amino acid variation between hCD1d and mCD1d, a glycine-to-tryptophan modification within the α2-helix that prevents flattening of the iGb3 headgroup upon TCR ligation. Mutation of the human residue, Trp153, to the mouse ortholog, Gly155, therefore allowed iGb3-hCD1d to stimulate human iNKT cells. In conclusion, our data indicate that iGb3 is unlikely to be a major antigen in human iNKT-cell biology.
Ex-vivo analysis of human natural killer T cells demonstrates heterogeneity between tissues and within established CD4(+) and CD4(-) subsets
Our understanding of human type 1 natural killer T (NKT) cells has been heavily dependent on studies of cells from peripheral blood. These have identified two functionally distinct subsets defined by expression of CD4, although it is widely believed that this underestimates the true number of subsets. Two recent studies supporting this view have provided more detail about diversity of the human NKT cells, but relied on analysis of NKT cells from human blood that had been expanded in vitro prior to analysis. In this study we extend those findings by assessing the heterogeneity of CD4(+) and CD4(-) human NKT cell subsets from peripheral blood, cord blood, thymus and spleen without prior expansion ex vivo, and identifying for the first time cytokines expressed by human NKT cells from spleen and thymus. Our comparative analysis reveals highly heterogeneous expression of surface antigens by CD4(+) and CD4(-) NKT cell subsets and identifies several antigens whose differential expression correlates with the cytokine response. Collectively, our findings reveal that the common classification of NKT cells into CD4(+) and CD4(-) subsets fails to reflect the diversity of this lineage, and that more studies are needed to establish the functional significance of the antigen expression patterns and tissue residency of human NKT cells.