The PD-1/PD-L costimulatory pathway critically affects host resistance to the pathogenic fungus Histoplasma capsulatum.
ABSTRACT: The PD-1 costimulatory receptor inhibits T cell receptor signaling upon interacting with its ligands PD-L1 and PD-L2. The PD-1/PD-L pathway is critical in maintaining self-tolerance. In this study, we examined the role of PD-1 in a mouse model of acute infection with Histoplasma capsulatum, a major human pathogenic fungus. In a lethal model of histoplasmosis, all PD-1-deficient mice survived infection, whereas the wild-type mice died with disseminated disease. PD-L expression on macrophages and splenocytes was up-regulated during infection, and macrophages from infected mice inhibited in vitro T cell activation. Of interest, antibody blocking of PD-1 significantly increased survival of lethally infected wild-type mice. Thus, our studies extend the role of the PD-1/PD-L pathway in regulating antimicrobial immunity to fungal pathogens. The results show that the PD-1/PD-L pathway has a key role in the regulation of antifungal immunity, and suggest that manipulation of this pathway represents a strategy of immunotherapy for histoplasmosis.
Project description:The yeast phase of Histoplasma capsulatum is the virulent form of this thermally dimorphic fungal pathogen. Among the secreted proteome of Histoplasma, culture filtrate protein 4 (Cfp4) is a heavily glycosylated factor produced abundantly and specifically by Histoplasma yeast cells, suggesting its role in pathogenesis. We have generated three monoclonal antibodies as tools for characterization and detection of Cfp4 and determined the epitope each recognizes. Through site-directed mutagenesis of Cfp4, we identified three asparagines that function as the principal sites of N-linked glycan modification. To test the function of Cfp4 in Histoplasma pathogenesis, we generated Cfp4-deficient strains by insertional mutagenesis and by RNA interference. Cfp4-deficient strains are not attenuated in virulence in human macrophages or during lung infection in a murine model of histoplasmosis. Coinfection of differentially marked Cfp4-producing and Cfp4-deficient strains demonstrates that production of Cfp4 does not confer a fitness advantage to Histoplasma yeasts during murine lung infection. Despite no apparent role in acute virulence in mice, secretion of the Cfp4 glycoprotein by yeast cells is consistent across clinical and laboratory isolates of the North American type 1 and type 2 phylogenetic groups as well as a strain from Panama. In addition, human immune sera recognize the Histoplasma Cfp4 protein, confirming Cfp4 production during infection of human hosts. These results suggest the potential utility of Cfp4 as a diagnostic exoantigen for histoplasmosis.
Project description:Apoptosis of leukocytes is known to strongly influence the immunopathogenesis of infection. In this study, we dissected the death pathways of murine macrophages (M?s) infected with the intracellular pathogen Histoplasma capsulatum. Yeast cells caused apoptosis of M?s at a wide range of multiplicity of infection, but smaller inocula resulted in delayed detection of apoptosis. Upon infection, caspases 3 and 1 were activated, and both contributed to cell death; however, only the former was involved in apoptosis. The principal driving force for apoptosis involved the extrinsic pathway via engagement of TNFR1 by TNF-?. Infected M?s produced IL-10 that dampened apoptosis. The chronology of TNF-? and IL-10 release differed in vitro. The former was detected by 2 h postinfection, and the latter was not detected until 8 h postinfection. In vivo, the lungs of TNFR1(-/-) mice infected for 1 d contained fewer apoptotic M?s than wild-type mice, whereas the lungs of IL-10(-/-) mice exhibited more. Blockade of apoptosis by a pan-caspase inhibitor or by simvastatin sharply reduced the release of TNF-? but enhanced IL-10. However, these treatments did not modify the fungal burden in vitro over 72 h. Thus, suppressing cell death modulated cytokine release but did not alter the fungal burden. These findings provide a framework for the early pathogenesis of histoplasmosis in which yeast cell invasion of lung M?s engenders apoptosis, triggered in part in an autocrine TNF-?-dependent manner, followed by release of IL-10 that likely prevents apoptosis of newly infected neighboring phagocytes.
Project description:During infection of the mammalian host, Histoplasma capsulatum yeasts survive and reside within macrophages of the immune system. Whereas some intracellular pathogens escape into the host cytosol, Histoplasma yeasts remain within the macrophage phagosome. This intracellular Histoplasma-containing compartment imposes nutritional challenges for yeast growth and replication. We identified and annotated vitamin synthesis pathways encoded in the Histoplasma genome and confirmed by growth in minimal medium that Histoplasma yeasts can synthesize all essential vitamins with the exception of thiamine. Riboflavin, pantothenate, and biotin auxotrophs of Histoplasma were generated to probe whether these vitamins are available to intracellular yeasts. Disruption of the RIB2 gene (riboflavin biosynthesis) prevented growth and proliferation of yeasts in macrophages and severely attenuated Histoplasma virulence in a murine model of respiratory histoplasmosis. Rib2-deficient yeasts were not cleared from lung tissue but persisted, consistent with functional survival mechanisms but inability to replicate in vivo. In addition, depletion of Pan6 (pantothenate biosynthesis) but not Bio2 function (biotin synthesis) also impaired Histoplasma virulence. These results indicate that the Histoplasma-containing phagosome is limiting for riboflavin and pantothenate and that Histoplasma virulence requires de novo synthesis of these cofactor precursors. Since mammalian hosts do not rely on vitamin synthesis but instead acquire essential vitamins through diet, vitamin synthesis pathways represent druggable targets for therapeutics.
Project description:Recognition and internalisation of intracellular pathogens by host cells is a multifactorial process, involving both stable and transient interactions. The plasticity of the host cell plasma membrane is fundamental in this infectious process. Here, the participation of macrophage lipid microdomains during adhesion and internalisation of the fungal pathogen Histoplasma capsulatum (Hc) was investigated. An increase in membrane lateral organisation, which is a characteristic of lipid microdomains, was observed during the first steps of Hc-macrophage interaction. Cholesterol enrichment in macrophage membranes around Hc contact regions and reduced levels of Hc-macrophage association after cholesterol removal also suggested the participation of lipid microdomains during Hc-macrophage interaction. Using optical tweezers to study cell-to-cell interactions, we showed that cholesterol depletion increased the time required for Hc adhesion. Additionally, fungal internalisation was significantly reduced under these conditions. Moreover, macrophages treated with the ceramide-glucosyltransferase inhibitor (P4r) and macrophages with altered ganglioside synthesis (from B4galnt1-/- mice) showed a deficient ability to interact with Hc. Coincubation of oligo-GM1 and treatment with Cholera toxin Subunit B, which recognises the ganglioside GM1, also reduced Hc association. Although purified GM1 did not alter Hc binding, treatment with P4 significantly increased the time required for Hc binding to macrophages. The content of CD18 was displaced from lipid microdomains in B4galnt1-/- macrophages. In addition, macrophages with reduced CD18 expression (CD18low ) were associated with Hc at levels similar to wild-type cells. Finally, CD11b and CD18 colocalised with GM1 during Hc-macrophage interaction. Our results indicate that lipid rafts and particularly complex gangliosides that reside in lipid rafts stabilise Hc-macrophage adhesion and mediate efficient internalisation during histoplasmosis.
Project description:A protective role for antibodies has not previously been described for host defense against the pathogenic fungus Histoplasma capsulatum (Hc). Mouse mAb's were generated from mice immunized with Hc yeast that binds the cell surface of Hc. Administration of mAb's before Hc infection reduced fungal burden, decreased pulmonary inflammation, and prolonged survival in a murine infection model. Protection mediated by mAb's was associated with enhanced levels of IL-4, IL-6, and IFN-gamma in the lungs of infected mice. The mAb's increased phagocytosis of yeast by J774.16 cells through a CR3-dependent process. Ingestion of mAb-opsonized Hc by J774.16 macrophage-like cells was associated with yeast cell growth inhibition and killing. The mAb's bound to a 17-kDa antigen expressed on the surface of Hc. The antigen was identified as a histone H2B-like protein. This study establishes that mAb's to a cell surface protein of Hc alter the intracellular fate of the fungus and mediate protection in a murine model of lethal histoplasmosis, and it suggests a new candidate antigen for vaccine development.
Project description:We developed a seminested PCR for the diagnosis of histoplasmosis that amplifies a portion of the Histoplasma capsulatum H antigen gene. This assay is highly sensitive and specific, being able to detect genomic material corresponding to less than 10 yeast cells without cross-reaction against other bacterial or fungal pathogens.
Project description:Infection with the dimorphic fungus Histoplasma capsulatum results from the inhalation of contaminated soil. Disease outcome is variable and depends on the immune status of the host, number of organisms inhaled, and the H. capsulatum strain. H. capsulatum is divided into seven distinct clades based on phylogenetic analyses, and strains from two separate clades have been identified in North America (denoted as NAm strains). We characterized an H. capsulatum isolate (WU24) from the NAm 1 lineage in relation to two other well-characterized Histoplasma isolates, the Panamanian strain G186A and the NAm 2 strain G217B. We determined that WU24 is a chemotype II strain and requires cell wall ?-(1,3)-glucan for successful in vitro infection of macrophages. In a mouse model of histoplasmosis, WU24 exhibited a disease profile that was very similar to that of strain G186A at a high sublethal dose; however, at this dose G217B had markedly different kinetics. Surprisingly, infection with a lower dose mitigated many of the differences during the course of infection. The observed differences in fungal burden, disease kinetics, symptomology, and cytokine responses all indicate that there is a sophisticated relationship between host and fungus that drives the development and progression of histoplasmosis. Importance: Histoplasmosis has a wide range of clinical manifestations, presenting as mild respiratory distress, acute respiratory infection, or a life-threatening disseminated disease most often seen in immunocompromised patients. Additionally, the outcome appears to be dependent on the amount and strain of fungus inhaled. In this study, we characterized a recent clinical H. capsulatum isolate that was collected from an HIV(+) individual in North America. In contrast to other isolates from the same lineage, this strain, WU24, infected both macrophages and wild-type mice. We determined that in contrast to many other North American strains, WU24 infection of macrophages is dependent on the presence of cell wall ?-(1,3)-glucan. Surprisingly, comparison of WU24 with two previously characterized isolates revealed that many conclusions regarding relative strain virulence and certain hallmarks of histoplasmosis are dependent on the inoculum size.
Project description:Histoplasma capsulatum (Hc) exists in the soil and is capable of adapting to the shift in environment during infection to ensure survival. Yeast encounter a restrictive host environment low in nutrients such as zinc. In this study we functionally analyzed a putative zinc regulated transporter, HcZrt2, in zinc limiting conditions by complementation of HcZrt2 and gene knockdown through RNA interference (RNAi). Complementation analysis demonstrated HcZrt2's ability to functionally replace the characterized Saccharomyces cerevisiae zinc plasma membrane transporters Zrt1 and Zrt2 in zinc deficient medium. Gene silencing revealed that HcZrt2 is essential for growth in zinc deficient medium and plays a role in zinc accumulation. Fungal burden was reduced in mice infected with HcZrt2 silenced strains compared to a control strain. Sixty-seven percent of mice infected with a lethal dose of HcZrt2-RNAi#1 survived, and 100% of mice infected with HcZrt2-RNAi#2 withstood lethal infection. Our data suggest that HcZrt2 is a vital part of zinc homeostasis and essential for the pathogenesis of histoplasmosis.
Project description:Heat shock proteins with molecular masses of approximately 60 kDa (Hsp60) are widely distributed in nature and are highly conserved immunogenic molecules that can function as molecular chaperones and enhance cellular survival under physiological stress conditions. The fungus Histoplasma capsulatum displays an Hsp60 on its cell surface that is a key target of the cellular immune response during histoplasmosis, and immunization with this protein is protective. However, the role of humoral responses to Hsp60 has not been fully elucidated. We generated immunoglobulin G (IgG) isotype monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) to H. capsulatum Hsp60. IgG1 and IgG2a MAbs significantly prolonged the survival of mice infected with H. capsulatum. An IgG2b MAb was not protective. The protective MAbs reduced intracellular fungal survival and increased phagolysosomal fusion of macrophages in vitro. Histological examination of infected mice showed that protective MAbs reduced the fungal burden and organ damage. Organs of infected animals treated with protective MAbs had significantly increased levels of interleukin-2 (IL-2), IL-12, and tumor necrosis factor alpha and decreased levels of IL-4 and IL-10. Hence, IgG1 and IgG2a MAbs to Hsp60 can modify H. capsulatum pathogenesis in part by altering the intracellular fate of the fungus and inducing the production of Th1-associated cytokines.