Genomic organization and phylogenetic utility of deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus) lymphotoxin-alpha and lymphotoxin-beta.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus) are among the most common mammals in North America and are important reservoirs of several human pathogens, including Sin Nombre hantavirus (SNV). SNV can establish a life-long apathogenic infection in deer mice, which can shed virus in excrement for transmission to humans. Patients that die from hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome (HCPS) have been found to express several proinflammatory cytokines, including lymphotoxin (LT), in the lungs. It is thought that these cytokines contribute to the pathogenesis of HCPS. LT is not expressed by virus-specific CD4+ T cells from infected deer mice, suggesting a limited role for this pathway in reservoir responses to hantaviruses. RESULTS:We have cloned the genes encoding deer mouse LTalpha and LTbeta and have found them to be highly similar to orthologous rodent sequences but with some differences in promoters elements. The phylogenetic analyses performed on the LTalpha, LTbeta, and combined data sets yielded a strongly-supported sister-group relationship between the two murines (the house mouse and the rat). The deer mouse, a sigmodontine, appeared as the sister group to the murine clade in all of the analyses. High bootstrap values characterized the grouping of murids. CONCLUSION:No conspicuous differences compared to other species are present in the predicted amino acid sequences of LTalpha or LTbeta; however, some promoter differences were noted in LTbeta. Although more extensive taxonomic sampling is required to confirm the results of our analyses, the preliminary findings indicate that both genes (analyzed both separately and in combination) hold potential for resolving relationships among rodents and other mammals at the subfamily level.
Project description:Human infections with Sin Nombre virus (SNV) and related New World hantaviruses often lead to hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome (HCPS), a sometimes fatal illness. Lungs of patients who die from HCPS exhibit cytokine-producing mononuclear infiltrates and pronounced pulmonary inflammation. Deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus) are the principal natural hosts of SNV, in which the virus establishes life-long persistence without conspicuous pathology. Little is known about the mechanisms SNV employs to evade the immune response of deer mice, and experimental examination of this question has been difficult because of a lack of methodologies for examining such responses during infection. One such deficiency is our inability to characterize T cell responses because susceptible syngeneic deer mice are not available.To solve this problem, we have developed an in vitro method of expanding and generating competent antigen presenting cells (APC) from deer mouse bone marrow using commercially-available house mouse (Mus musculus) granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor. These cells are capable of processing and presenting soluble protein to antigen-specific autologous helper T cells in vitro. Inclusion of antigen-specific deer mouse antibody augments T cell stimulation, presumably through Fc receptor-mediated endocytosis.The use of these APC has allowed us to dramatically expand deer mouse helper T cells in culture and should permit extensive characterization of T cell epitopes. Considering the evolutionary divergence between deer mice and house mice, it is probable that this method will be useful to other investigators using unconventional models of rodent-borne diseases.
Project description:Deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus) are the most common mammals in North America and are reservoirs for several zoonotic agents, including Sin Nombre virus (SNV), the principal etiologic agent of hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome (HCPS) in North America. Unlike human HCPS patients, SNV-infected deer mice show no overt pathological symptoms, despite the presence of virus in the lungs. A neutralizing IgG antibody response occurs, but the virus establishes a persistent infection. Limitations of detailed analysis of deer mouse immune responses to SNV are the lack of reagents and methods for evaluating such responses.We developed real-time PCR-based detection assays for several immune-related transcription factor and cytokine genes from deer mice that permit the profiling of CD4+ helper T cells, including markers of Th1 cells (T-bet, STAT4, IFNgamma, TNF, LT), Th2 cells (GATA-3, STAT6, IL-4, IL-5) and regulatory T cells (Fox-p3, IL-10, TGFbeta1). These assays compare the expression of in vitro antigen-stimulated and unstimulated T cells from individual deer mice.We developed molecular methods for profiling immune gene expression in deer mice, including a multiplexed real-time PCR assay for assessing expression of several cytokine and transcription factor genes. These assays should be useful for characterizing the immune responses of experimentally- and naturally-infected deer mice.
Project description:Hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome (HCPS) is a rodent-borne disease with a high case-fatality rate that is caused by several New World hantaviruses. Each pathogenic hantavirus is naturally hosted by a principal rodent species without conspicuous disease and infection is persistent, perhaps for life. Deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus) are the natural reservoirs of Sin Nombre virus (SNV), the etiologic agent of most HCPS cases in North America. Deer mice remain infected despite a helper T cell response that leads to high-titer neutralizing antibodies. Deer mice are also susceptible to Andes hantavirus (ANDV), which causes most HCPS cases in South America; however, deer mice clear ANDV. We infected deer mice with SNV or ANDV to identify differences in host responses that might account for this differential outcome. SNV RNA levels were higher in the lungs but not different in the heart, spleen, or kidneys. Most ANDV-infected deer mice had seroconverted 14 days after inoculation, but none of the SNV-infected deer mice had. Examination of lymph node cell antigen recall responses identified elevated immune gene expression in deer mice infected with ANDV and suggested maturation toward a Th2 or T follicular helper phenotype in some ANDV-infected deer mice, including activation of the interleukin 4 (IL-4) pathway in T cells and B cells. These data suggest that the rate of maturation of the immune response is substantially higher and of greater magnitude during ANDV infection, and these differences may account for clearance of ANDV and persistence of SNV.Hantaviruses persistently infect their reservoir rodent hosts without pathology. It is unknown how these viruses evade sterilizing immune responses in the reservoirs. We have determined that infection of the deer mouse with its homologous hantavirus, Sin Nombre virus, results in low levels of immune gene expression in antigen-stimulated lymph node cells and a poor antibody response. However, infection of deer mice with a heterologous hantavirus, Andes virus, results in a robust lymph node cell response, signatures of T and B cell maturation, and production of antibodies. These findings suggest that an early and aggressive immune response to hantaviruses may lead to clearance in a reservoir host and suggest that a modest immune response may be a component of hantavirus ecology.
Project description:Deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus) are the principal reservoir hosts of Sin Nombre virus (SNV), the cause of the great majority of hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome (HCPS) cases in North America. SNV, like all hantaviruses with their reservoirs, causes persistent infection without pathology in deer mice and appear to elicit a regulatory T cell response. Deer mice are also susceptible to Andes virus (ANDV), which causes the great majority of HCPS cases in South America, but they clear infection by 56 days post infection without signs of disease.We examined lymph node cell responses of deer mice infected with ANDV to determine expression profiles upon in vitro recall challenge with viral antigen. Because the deer mouse genome is currently unannotated, we developed a bioinformatics pipeline to use known lab mouse (Mus musculus) cDNAs to predict genes within the deer mouse genome and design primers for quantitative PCR (http://dna.publichealth.uga.edu/BlastPrimer/BlastPrimer.php). Of 94 genes examined, 20 were elevated, the plurality of which were Th2-specific, whereas 12 were downregulated. Other expressed genes represented Th1, regulatory T cells and follicular helper T cells, and B cells, but not Th17 cells, indicating that many cellular phenotypes participate in the host response to Andes virus.The ability to examine expression levels of nearly any gene from deer mice should allow direct comparison of infection with SNV or ANDV to determine the immunological pathways used for clearance of hantavirus infection in a reservoir host species.
Project description:Activated lymphocytes and lymphoid-tissue inducer cells express lymphotoxins (LTs), which are essential for the organogenesis and maintenance of lymphoreticular microenvironments. Here we describe that T-cell-restricted overexpression of LT induces fulminant thymic involution. This phenotype was prevented by ablation of the LT receptors tumor necrosis factor receptor (TNFR) 1 or LT beta receptor (LTbetaR), representing two non-redundant pathways. Multiple lines of transgenic Ltalphabeta and Ltalpha mice show such a phenotype, which was not observed on overexpression of LTbeta alone. Reciprocal bone marrow transfers between LT-overexpressing and receptor-ablated mice show that involution was not due to a T cell-autonomous defect but was triggered by TNFR1 and LTbetaR signaling to radioresistant stromal cells. Thymic involution was partially prevented by the removal of one allele of LTbetaR but not of TNFR1, establishing a hierarchy in these signaling events. Infection with the lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus triggered a similar thymic pathology in wt, but not in Tnfr1(-/-) mice. These mice displayed elevated TNFalpha in both thymus and plasma, as well as increased LTs on both CD8(+) and CD4(-)CD8(-) thymocytes. These findings suggest that enhanced T cell-derived LT expression helps to control the physiological size of the thymic stroma and accelerates its involution via TNFR1/LTbetaR signaling in pathological conditions and possibly also in normal aging.
Project description:The lymphotoxin LTalpha(1)beta(2) supports the development and maintenance of several aspects of spleen structure, but its significance for marginal sinus (MS) vascular organization is unclear. We showed here that, in early postnatal lymphotoxin-deficient mice, the developing Flk-1+ white pulp vessels failed to organize or upregulate MAdCAM-1, leading to altered spatial rearrangement of both the white pulp endothelial cells and the smooth muscle actin-expressing cells. In vitro, MAdCAM-1 directed the reorganization of LTbeta receptor+ endothelial cells grown on Matrigel. LTalpha(1)beta(2) also regulated the maintenance of both MAdCAM-1 expression and mature MS structure in adult mice, contributing importantly to normal trafficking of CD11b+ cells in response to bacterial antigens. Together, our studies demonstrate that LTalpha(1)beta(2) and LTbeta receptor signals control proper development and maintenance of the mature MS structure and implicate MAdCAM-1 in the structuring of the MS endothelial cells that is important for the movement of immune cells within the spleen.
Project description:Lymphotoxin alpha (LTalpha) can exist in soluble form and exert tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-like activity through TNF receptors. Based on the phenotypes of knockout (KO) mice, the physiological functions of LTalpha and TNF are considered partly redundant, in particular, in supporting the microarchitecture of the spleen and in host defense. We exploited Cre-LoxP technology to generate a novel neomycin resistance gene (neo) cassette-free LTalpha-deficient mouse strain (neo-free LTalpha KO [LTalphaDelta/Delta]). Unlike the "conventional" LTalpha-/- mice, new LTalphaDelta/Delta animals were capable of producing normal levels of systemic TNF upon lipopolysaccharide (LPS) challenge and were susceptible to LPS/D-galactosamine (D-GalN) toxicity. Activated neutrophils, monocytes, and macrophages from LTalphaDelta/Delta mice expressed TNF normally at both the mRNA and protein levels as opposed to conventional LTalpha KO mice, which showed substantial decreases in TNF. Additionally, the spleens of the neo-free LTalpha KO mice displayed several features resembling those of LTbeta KO mice rather than conventional LTalpha KO animals. The phenotype of the new LTalphaDelta/Delta mice indicates that LTalpha plays a smaller role in lymphoid organ maintenance than previously thought and has no direct role in the regulation of TNF expression.
Project description:Although several cytokines, including tumor necrosis factor (TNF), can promote the growth of dendritic cells (DCs) in vitro, the cytokines that naturally regulate DC development and function in vivo have not been well defined. Here, we report that membrane lymphotoxin (LT), instead of TNF, regulates the migration of DCs in the spleen. LTalpha(-/-) mice, lacking membrane LTalpha/beta and LTalpha(3), show markedly reduced numbers of DCs in the spleen. Unlike wild-type mice and TNF(-/-) mice that have densely clustered DCs in the T cell zone and around the marginal zone, splenic DCs in LTalpha(-/-) mice are randomly distributed. The reduced number of DCs in lymphoid tissues of LTalpha(-/-) mice is associated with an increased number of DCs in nonlymphoid tissues. The number of splenic DCs in LTalpha(-/-) mice is restored when additional LT-expressing cells are provided. Blocking membrane LTalpha/beta in wild-type mice markedly diminishes the accumulation of DCs in lymphoid tissues. These data suggest that membrane LT is an essential ligand for the presence of DCs in the spleen. Mice deficient in TNF receptor, which is the receptor for both soluble LTalpha(3) and TNF-alpha(3) trimers, have normal numbers of DCs. However, LTbetaR(-/-) mice show reduced numbers of DCs, similar to the mice lacking membrane LT alpha/beta. Taken together, these results support the notion that the signaling via LTbetaR by membrane LTalpha/beta is required for the presence of DCs in lymphoid tissues.
Project description:The formation of germinal centers (GCs) represents a crucial step in the humoral immune response. Recent studies using gene-targeted mice have revealed that the cytokines tumor necrosis factor (TNF), lymphotoxin (LT) alpha, and LTbeta, as well as their receptors TNF receptor p55 (TNFRp55) and LTbetaR play essential roles in the development of GCs. To establish in which cell types expression of LTbetaR, LTbeta, and TNF is required for GC formation, LTbetaR-/-, LTbeta-/-, TNF-/-, B cell-deficient (BCR-/-), and wild-type mice were used to generate reciprocal or mixed bone marrow (BM) chimeric mice. GCs, herein defined as peanut agglutinin-binding (PNA+) clusters of centroblasts/centrocytes in association with follicular dendritic cell (FDC) networks, were not detectable in LTbetaR-/- hosts after transfer of wild-type BM. In contrast, the GC reaction was restored in LTbeta-/- hosts reconstituted with either wild-type or LTbetaR-/- BM. In BCR-/- recipients reconstituted with compound LTbeta-/-/BCR-/- or TNF-/-/BCR-/- BM grafts, PNA+ cell clusters formed in splenic follicles, but associated FDC networks were strongly reduced or absent. Thus, development of splenic FDC networks depends on expression of LTbeta and TNF by B lymphocytes and LTbetaR by radioresistant stromal cells.
Project description:We hypothesized that the ongoing naturalization of frost/shade tolerant Asian bamboos in North America could cause environmental consequences involving introduced bamboos, native rodents and ultimately humans. More specifically, we asked whether the eventual masting by an abundant leptomorphic ("running") bamboo within Pacific Northwest coniferous forests could produce a temporary surfeit of food capable of driving a population irruption of a common native seed predator, the deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus), a hantavirus carrier. Single-choice and cafeteria-style feeding trials were conducted for deer mice with seeds of two bamboo species (Bambusa distegia and Yushania brevipaniculata), wheat, Pinus ponderosa, and native mixed diets compared to rodent laboratory feed. Adult deer mice consumed bamboo seeds as readily as they consumed native seeds. In the cafeteria-style feeding trials, Y. brevipaniculata seeds were consumed at the same rate as native seeds but more frequently than wheat seeds or rodent laboratory feed. Females produced a median litter of 4 pups on a bamboo diet. Given the ability of deer mice to reproduce frequently whenever food is abundant, we employed our feeding trial results in a modified Rosenzweig-MacArthur consumer-resource model to project the population-level response of deer mice to a suddenly available/rapidly depleted supply of bamboo seeds. The simulations predict rodent population irruptions and declines similar to reported cycles involving Asian and South American rodents but unprecedented in deer mice. Following depletion of a mast seed supply, the incidence of Sin Nombre Virus (SNV) transmission to humans could subsequently rise with dispersal of the peridomestic deer mice into nearby human settlements seeking food.