Distinct roles for Dectin-1 and TLR4 in the pathogenesis of Aspergillus fumigatus keratitis.
ABSTRACT: Aspergillus species are a major worldwide cause of corneal ulcers, resulting in visual impairment and blindness in immunocompetent individuals. To enhance our understanding of the pathogenesis of Aspergillus keratitis, we developed a murine model in which red fluorescent protein (RFP)-expressing A. fumigatus (Af293.1RFP) conidia are injected into the corneal stroma, and disease progression and fungal survival are tracked over time. Using Mafia mice in which c-fms expressing macrophages and dendritic cells can be induced to undergo apoptosis, we demonstrated that the presence of resident corneal macrophages is essential for production of IL-1beta and CXCL1/KC, and for recruitment of neutrophils and mononuclear cells into the corneal stroma. We found that beta-glucan was highly expressed on germinating conidia and hyphae in the cornea stroma, and that both Dectin-1 and phospho-Syk were up-regulated in infected corneas. Additionally, we show that infected Dectin-1(-/-) corneas have impaired IL-1beta and CXCL1/KC production, resulting in diminished cellular infiltration and fungal clearance compared with control mice, especially during infection with clinical isolates expressing high beta-glucan. In contrast to Dectin 1(-/-) mice, cellular infiltration into infected TLR2(-/-), TLR4(-/-), and MD-2(-/-) mice corneas was unimpaired, indicating no role for these receptors in cell recruitment; however, fungal killing was significantly reduced in TLR4(-/-) mice, but not TLR2(-/-) or MD-2(-/-) mice. We also found that TRIF(-/-) and TIRAP(-/-) mice exhibited no fungal-killing defects, but that MyD88(-/-) and IL-1R1(-/-) mice were unable to regulate fungal growth. In conclusion, these data are consistent with a model in which beta-glucan on A.fumigatus germinating conidia activates Dectin-1 on corneal macrophages to produce IL-1beta, and CXCL1, which together with IL-1R1/MyD88-dependent activation, results in recruitment of neutrophils to the corneal stroma and TLR4-dependent fungal killing.
Project description:Aspergillus and Fusarium species are important causes of fungal infections worldwide. Airborne spores (conidia) of these filamentous fungi express a surface protein that confers hydrophobicity (hydrophobin) and covers cell wall components that would otherwise induce a host immune cell response. Using a mutant Aspergillus fumigatus strain (?rodA) that does not express the RodA hydrophobin, and Aspergillus and Fusarium conidia from clinical isolates that were treated with hydrofluoric acid (which removes the A. fumigatus RodA protein), we observed increased surface exposure of ?1,3-glucan and ?-mannose on Aspergillus and Fusarium conidia. We also found that ?rodA and hydrofluoric acid-treated conidia stimulate significantly higher NF-?B p65 nuclear translocation and cytokine production by macrophages from C57BL/6, but not from Dectin-1(-/-) or Dectin-2(-/-) mice. Using a murine model of A. fumigatus corneal infection, we showed that ?rodA conidia induced significantly higher cytokine production, neutrophil infiltration, and more rapid fungal clearance from C57BL/6 corneas compared with the parent G10 strain, which was dependent on Dectin-1 and Dectin-2. Together, these findings identify the hydrophobin RodA as a virulence factor that masks Dectin-1 and Dectin-2 recognition of conidia, resulting in impaired neutrophil recruitment to the cornea and increased fungal survival and clinical disease.
Project description:Alveolar macrophages represent a first-line innate host defense mechanism for clearing inhaled Aspergillus fumigatus from the lungs, yet contradictory data exist as to which alveolar macrophage recognition receptor is critical for innate immunity to A. fumigatus. Acknowledging that the A. fumigatus cell wall contains a high beta-1,3-glucan content, we questioned whether the beta-glucan receptor dectin-1 played a role in this recognition process. Monoclonal antibody, soluble receptor, and competitive carbohydrate blockage indicated that the alveolar macrophage inflammatory response, specifically the production of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), interleukin-1alpha (IL-1alpha), IL-1beta, IL-6, CXCL2/macrophage inflammatory protein-2 (MIP-2), CCL3/macrophage inflammatory protein-1alpha (MIP-1alpha), granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF), and granulocyte monocyte-CSF (GM-CSF), to live A. fumigatus was dependent on recognition via the beta-glucan receptor dectin-1. The inflammatory response was triggered at the highest level by A. fumigatus swollen conidia and early germlings and correlated to the levels of surface-exposed beta glucans, indicating that dectin-1 preferentially recognizes specific morphological forms of A. fumigatus. Intratracheal administration of A. fumigatus conidia to mice in the presence of a soluble dectin-Fc fusion protein reduced both lung proinflammatory cytokine/chemokine levels and cellular recruitment while modestly increasing the A. fumigatus fungal burden, illustrating the importance of beta-glucan-initiated dectin-1 signaling in defense against this pathogen. Collectively, these data show that dectin-1 is centrally required for the generation of alveolar macrophage proinflammatory responses to A. fumigatus and to our knowledge provides the first in vivo evidence for the role of dectin-1 in fungal innate defense.
Project description:Immune suppression increases the incidence of invasive fungal infections, particularly those caused by the opportunistic mold Aspergillus fumigatus. Previous investigations revealed that members of the TLR family are not absolutely required for host defense against A. fumigatus in nonimmunosuppressed hosts, suggesting that other pattern recognition receptors are involved. We show in this study that naive mice (i.e., not pharmacologically immunosuppressed) lacking the beta-glucan receptor Dectin-1 (Dectin-1(-/-)) are more sensitive to intratracheal challenge with A. fumigatus than control mice, exhibiting >80% mortality within 5 days, ultimately attributed to a compromise in respiratory mechanics. In response to A. fumigatus challenge, Dectin-1(-/-) mice demonstrated impaired IL-1alpha, IL-1beta, TNF-alpha, CCL3/MIP-1alpha, CCL4/MIP-1beta, and CXCL1/KC production, which resulted in insufficient lung neutrophil recruitment and uncontrolled A. fumigatus lung growth. Alveolar macrophages from Dectin-1(-/-) mice failed to produce proinflammatory mediators in response to A. fumigatus, whereas neutrophils from Dectin-1(-/-) mice had impaired reactive oxygen species production and impaired killing of A. fumigatus. We further show that IL-17 production in the lung after A. fumigatus challenge was Dectin-1 dependent, and that neutralization of IL-17 significantly impaired A. fumigatus clearance. Collectively, these results support a requisite role for Dectin-1 in in vivo defense against A. fumigatus.
Project description:Purpose:The purpose of this study was to investigate the therapeutic effect of perillaldehyde (PAE) on Aspergillus fumigatus (A. fumigatus) keratitis. Methods:Human corneal epithelial cells (HCECs) were pretreated with PAE and stimulated with A. fumigatus mycelium. C57BL/6 mice were infected with A. fumigatus and treated with or without PAE 1 day after infection. Clinical scores, PCR, ELISA, and Western blotting were used to detect the expression of pro-inflammatory mediators, dendritic cell-associated c-type lectin-1 (Dectin-1), nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2) like 2 (Nrf2), and heme oxygenase (HO-1). Nrf2 expression in HCECs pretreated with PAE was observed by immunofluorescence. NIMP-R14 protein expression and localization in mouse corneas were observed by immunofluorescence staining after treatment with PAE. Corneal colony counting, time-kill tests, and mycelial transformation inhibition tests were used to evaluate the antifungal effect of PAE. Results:C57BL/6 mice treated with PAE at 1 day after infection had a lower clinical score and decreased IL-1?, TNF-?, IL-6, Dectin-1, and MPO levels. PAE treatment significantly reduced neutrophil recruitments to the corneal stroma. Compared with the DMSO-treated group, PAE treatment significantly decreased mRNA and protein levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines and Dectin-1 in HCECs. PAE pretreatment before A. fumigatus stimulation obviously elevated the mRNA and protein levels of components of the Nrf2/HO-1 axis. HCECs pretreated with PAE before infection showed a weakened ability to inhibit inflammation in the presence of brusatol (BT; an Nrf2 inhibitor) or ZnPP (an HO-1 inhibitor). PAE treatment significantly reduced the fungal load of C57BL/6 mouse corneas and inhibited fungal growth in vitro. Conclusions:These data proved that PAE may ameliorate A. fumigatus keratitis by activating the Nrf2/HO-1 signaling pathway and inhibiting the Dectin-1 mediated inflammatory response and neutrophil recruitment. Furthermore, PAE exerts direct fungicidal activity on A. fumigatus.
Project description:Chemotactic cytokines mediate the recruitment of leukocytes into infected tissues. This study investigated the profile of chemokines during experimental Candida albicans keratitis and determined the effects of chemokine inhibition on leukocyte infiltration and fungal growth during murine keratomycosis. Scarified corneas of BALB/c mice were topically inoculated with C. albicans and monitored daily over one week for fungal keratitis. After a gene microarray for murine chemokines compared infected corneas to controls, real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and immunostaining assessed chemokine expression in infected and mock-inoculated corneas. An anti-chemokine antibody was then administered subconjunctivally and evaluated for effects on clinical severity, corneal inflammation, fungal recovery, and cytokine expression. Of 33 chemokine genes examined by microarray, 6 CC chemokines and 6 CXC chemokines were significantly (P<0.05) upregulated more than two-fold. Chemokine (CC-motif) ligand 3 (CCL3) was upregulated 108-fold (P=0.03) by real-time RT-PCR within one day after fungal inoculation and remained increased 28-fold (P=0.02) at one week, and its in situ expression increased in the epithelium and stroma of infected corneas. Compared to the control antibody-treated group, eyes treated with anti-CCL3 antibody showed reduced clinical severity (P<0.05), less corneal neovascularization (P=0.02), and fewer inflammatory cells infiltrating corneal tissue, but the amount of recoverable fungi was not significantly (P=0.4) affected. Anti-CCL3 treatment significantly (P=0.01) reduced the expression of tumor necrosis factor and interleukin-1beta in infected corneas. These results indicate that chemokines, especially the CC chemokine CCL3, play important roles in the acute inflammatory response to C. albicans corneal infection.
Project description:Dectin-1 and ephrin type-A receptor 2 (EphA2) receptors recognize ?-glucan present in the fungal cell wall. Inhibition of Dectin-1 with the monoclonal 2a11 antibody was shown to reduce internalization of conidia of the human pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus into epithelial cells. In this study, we investigated the role of the EphA2 receptor present on A549 epithelial type II lung cells in the interaction with A. fumigatus conidia. We assessed whether EphA2 is involved in association and internalization of conidia by receptor inhibition by an antibody or by using the kinase inhibitor dasatinib. A 50% reduction of internalization of conidia was observed when this receptor was blocked with either the EphA2-specific monoclonal antibody or dasatinib, which was similar when Dectin-1 was inhibited with the 2a11 monoclonal antibody. Inhibition of both receptors reduced the internalization to 40%. EphA2 inhibition was also assessed in a hydrophobin deletion strain (?rodA) that exposes more ?-glucan and a dihydroxynaphthalene (DHN)-melanin deletion strain (?pksP) that exposes more glucosamine and glycoproteins. The ?rodA strain behaved similar to the wild-type strain with or without EphA2 inhibition. In contrast, the ?pksP mutant showed an increase in association to the A549 cells and a decrease in internalization. Internalization was not further decreased by EphA2 inhibition. Taken together, the presence of DHN-melanin in the spore cell wall results in an EphA2-dependent internalization of conidia of A. fumigatus into A549 cells.
Project description:Invasive aspergillosis (IA) is a life-threatening disease that occurs in immunodepressed patients when infected with Aspergillus fumigatus. This fungus is the second most-common causative agent of fungal disease after Candida albicans. Nevertheless, much remains to be learned about the mechanisms by which A. fulmigatus activates the innate immune system. We investigated the inflammatory response to conidia and hyphae of A. fumigatus and specifically, their capacity to trigger activation of an inflammasome. Our results show that in contrast to conidia, hyphal fragments induce NLRP3 inflammasome assembly, caspase-1 activation and IL-1beta release from a human monocyte cell line. The ability of Aspergillus hyphae to activate the NLRP3 inflammasome in the monocytes requires K(+) efflux and ROS production. In addition, our data show that NLRP3 inflammasome activation as well as pro-IL-1beta expression relies on the Syk tyrosine kinase, which is downstream from the pathogen recognition receptor Dectin-1, reinforcing the importance of Dectin-1 in the innate immune response against fungal infection. Furthermore, we show that treatment of monocytes with corticosteroids inhibits transcription of the gene encoding IL-1beta. Thus, our data demonstrate that the innate immune response against A. fumigatus infection involves a two step activation process, with a first signal promoting expression and synthesis of pro-IL-1beta; and a second signal, involving Syk-induced activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome and caspase-1, allowing processing and secretion of the mature cytokine.
Project description:Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO), which is mainly expressed in activated dendritic cells, is known as a regulator of immune responses. However, the role of IDO in immune responses against fungal corneal infection has not been investigated. To evaluate the regulatory mechanisms of IDO in fungal inflammation, we resorted to human corneal epithelial cells (HCECs), known as the first barrier of cornea against pathogenic microorganisms. We found that IDO was significantly up-regulated in corneal epithelium infected with Aspergillus fumigatus (A. fumigatus) and HCECs incubated with spores of A. fumigatus. Furthermore, IDO inhibitor (1-methyltryptophan, 1-MT) enhanced inflammatory cytokines IL-1? and IL-6 expression which were up-regulated by A. fumigatus spores infection. Dectin-1, as one of the important C-type lectin receptors, can identify ?-glucan, and mediate fungal innate immune responses. In the present study, pre-treatment with curdlan, a Dectin-1 agonist, further enhanced IDO expression compared with A. fumigatus stimulation. While laminarin, the Dectin-1 specific inhibitor, partially inhibited IDO expression stimulated by A. fumigatus. Further studies demonstrated inhibition of IDO activity amplified the expressions of inflammatory cytokines IL-1? and IL-6 induced by activation of Dectin-1. These results suggested that IDO was involved in the immune responses of fungal keratitis. The activation of Dectin-1 may contribute to A. fumigatus spores-induced up-regulation of IDO.
Project description:Purpose. To investigate the expression and function of toll-like receptors (TLRs) during experimental keratomycosis. Methods. Scarified corneas of BALB/c mice were topically inoculated with Candida albicans and compared with control corneas by a murine gene microarray and immunostaining. Real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) determined relative TLR gene expression in murine and human donor corneas. The scarified corneas of TLR2(-/-) mice, TLR4(-/-) mice, and C57BL/6J control mice were also inoculated with C. albicans, to determine relative severity, fungal load, and cytokine transcript levels. Results. TLR1, -2, -4, -6, and -13 were significantly upregulated (5- to 10-fold; P < 0.01) by microarray, and TLR1, -2, -4, and -13 were significantly increased (4- to 11-fold; P < 0.05) by real-time RT-PCR in BALB/c murine corneas. Similarly, TLR2, -6, and -13 were significantly upregulated (5- to 16-fold; P < or = 0.001) by real-time RT-PCR in C57BL/6J murine corneas the day after inoculation, and TLR2 and -13 remained significantly (P < 0.05) increased after 1 week. TLR2 transcript was also upregulated twofold (P = 0.04) in C. albicans-inoculated explanted human corneas. Although murine keratitis severity scores were similar, significantly more fungi were recovered from TLR2(-/-) mouse corneas (P = 0.04) than from TLR4(-/-) mouse corneas (P = 0.9). Tumor necrosis factor-alpha, interleukin 23, chemokine C-C ligands 3 and 4, and dectin-1 were significantly (P < 0.05) downregulated in C. albicans-infected corneas of TLR2(-/-) mice. Conclusions. TLR2 signals proinflammatory cytokines that control fungal growth during C. albicans keratitis. TLR13 may have an additional role in the innate immune response of murine corneal candidiasis.
Project description:The pathogenic mechanisms of fungal infection during human keratomycosis were investigated in an ex vivo corneal model that used strains of Fusarium oxysporum differing in the production of a fungal transcription factor.A pacC loss-of-function mutant and a pacC dominant-activating mutant were constructed from a wild-type isolate of F. oxysporum, and the 3 strains were characterized by in vitro growth kinetics. Twenty-seven human donor corneas maintained in tissue culture were superficially scarified and topically inoculated with the wild-type, the pacC loss-of-function mutant, or the pacC dominant-activating strains. Relative hyphal invasion into the stroma was compared histopathologically in corneal sections.F. oxysporum strains demonstrated comparable exponential growth rates in vitro. Wild-type F. oxysporum invaded into the corneal tissue within 1 day and penetrated through the anterior stroma during the next 4 days. The pacC loss-of-function mutant invaded explanted corneas significantly less than the wild-type strain on day 1 (P < 0.0001) and on day 3 (P = 0.0003). The pacC dominant-activating strain adhered and penetrated explanted corneas similar to the wild-type strain.The PacC pathway regulating the transcription of fungal genes allows fungal adaptation to the ocular surface and enables invasion of the injured cornea by F. oxysporum.