Production and release of antimicrobial and immune defense proteins by mammary epithelial cells following Streptococcus uberis infection of sheep.
ABSTRACT: Investigating the innate immune response mediators released in milk has manifold implications, spanning from elucidation of the role played by mammary epithelial cells (MECs) in fighting microbial infections to the discovery of novel diagnostic markers for monitoring udder health in dairy animals. Here, we investigated the mammary gland response following a two-step experimental infection of lactating sheep with the mastitis-associated bacterium Streptococcus uberis. The establishment of infection was confirmed both clinically and by molecular methods, including PCR and fluorescent in situ hybridization of mammary tissues. Proteomic investigation of the milk fat globule (MFG), a complex vesicle released by lactating MECs, enabled detection of enrichment of several proteins involved in inflammation, chemotaxis of immune cells, and antimicrobial defense, including cathelicidins and calprotectin (S100A8/S100A9), in infected animals, suggesting the consistent involvement of MECs in the innate immune response to pathogens. The ability of MECs to produce and release antimicrobial and immune defense proteins was then demonstrated by immunohistochemistry and confocal immunomicroscopy of cathelicidin and the calprotectin subunit S100A9 on mammary tissues. The time course of their release in milk was also assessed by Western immunoblotting along the course of the experimental infection, revealing the rapid increase of these proteins in the MFG fraction in response to the presence of bacteria. Our results support an active role of MECs in the innate immune response of the mammary gland and provide new potential for the development of novel and more sensitive tools for monitoring mastitis in dairy animals.
Project description:To differentiate between the contribution of mammary epithelial cells (MEC) and infiltrating immune cells to gene expression profiles of mammary tissue during early stage mastitis, we investigated in goats the in vivo transcriptional response of MEC to an experimental intra mammary infection (IMI) with Staphylococcus aureus, using a non-invasive RNA sampling method from milk fat globules (MFG). Microarrays were used to record gene expression patterns during the first 24 hours post-infection (hpi). This approach was combined with laser capture microdissection of MEC from frozen slides of mammary tissue to analyze some relevant genes at 30 hpi. During the early stages post-inoculation, MEC play an important role in the recruitment and activation of inflammatory cells through the IL-8 signalling pathway and initiate a sharp induction of innate immune genes predominantly associated with the pro-inflammatory response. At 30 hpi, MEC express genes encoding different acute phase proteins, including SAA3, SERPINA1 and PTX3 and factors, such as S100A12, that contribute directly to fighting the infection. No significant change in the expression of genes encoding caseins was observed until 24 hpi, thus validating our experimental model to study early stages of infection before the occurrence of tissue damage, since the milk synthesis function is still operative. This is to our knowledge the first report showing in vivo, in goats, how MEC orchestrate the innate immune response to an IMI challenge with S. aureus. Moreover, the non-invasive sampling method of mammary representative RNA from MFG provides a valuable tool to easily follow the dynamics of gene expression in MEC to search for sensitive biomarkers in milk for early detection of mastitis and therefore, to successfully improve the treatment and thus animal welfare.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Mastitis is the most common disease in dairy cattle and the costliest for the dairy farming industry, as it lowers milk yield and quality. Mastitis occurs as a result of interactions between microorganisms and the individual genetic predispositions of each animal. Thus, it is important to fully understand the mechanisms underlying these interactions. Elucidating the immune response mechanisms can determine which genetic background makes an animal highly resistant to mastitis. We analyzed the innate immune responses of dairy cows naturally infected with coagulase-positive staphylococci (CoPS; N?=?8) or coagulase-negative staphylococci (CoNS; N?=?7), causing persistent mastitis (after several failed treatments) vs. infection-free (i.e., healthy [H]; N?=?8) dairy cows. The expressions of the acute phase protein genes serum amyloid A3 (SAA3), haptoglobin (HP), ceruloplasmin (CP) genes in the tissues most exposed to pathogens- mammary gland cistern lining epithelial cells (CLECs) and mammary epithelial cells (MECs)-were analyzed. RESULTS:We found constitutive and extrahepatic expressions of the studied genes in both tissue types. HP expression in the MECs of the CoPS-infected group was higher than in the H group (p???0.05). Moreover, higher SAA3 expression in the CoPS and CoNS groups than in the H group (p?=?0.06 and 0.08, respectively) was found. No differences between SAA3 and HP in CLECs were revealed, regardless of the pathogen type. However, higher expression of CP (p???0.05) in the CoPS group than in the H group was noted. CONCLUSIONS:The expressions of selected acute phase proteins were similar between CLECs and MECs, which means that CLECs are not only a mechanical barrier but are also responsible for the biological immune response. Our findings agree with the results of other authors describing the immunological response of MECs during chronic mastitis, but the results for CLECs are novel.
Project description:A milk membrane glycoprotein, MFG-E8 [milk fat globule-EGF (epidermal growth factor) factor 8], is expressed abundantly in lactating mammary glands in stage- and tissue-specific manners, and has been believed to be secreted in association with milk fat globules. In the present paper, we describe further up-regulation of MFG-E8 in involuting mammary glands, where the glands undergo a substantial increase in the rate of epithelial cell apoptosis, and a possible role of MFG-E8 in mediating recognition and engulfment of apoptotic cells through its specific binding to PS (phosphatidylserine). Immunoblotting and RNA blotting analyses revealed that both MFG-E8 protein and MFG-E8 mRNA were markedly increased in mammary tissue within 3 days of either natural or forced weaning (pup withdrawal) of lactating mice. Using immunohistochemical analysis of the mammary tissue cryosections, the MFG-E8 signal was detected around the epithelium of such involuting mammary glands, but was almost undetectable at early- and mid-lactation stages, although strong signals were obtained for milk fat globules stored in the alveolar lumen. Some signals double positive to a macrophage differentiation marker, CD68, and MFG-E8 were detected in the post-weaning mammary tissue, although such double-positive signals were much smaller in number than the MFG-E8 single-positive ones. Total MFG-E8 in milk was also increased in the post-weaning mammary glands and, furthermore, the free MFG-E8 content in the post-weaning milk, as measured by in vitro PS-binding and apoptotic HC11 cell-binding activities, was much higher than that of lactation. In addition, the post-weaning milk enhanced the binding of apoptotic HC11 cells to J774 macrophages. Sucrose density-gradient ultracentrifugation analyses revealed that such enhanced PS-binding activity of MFG-E8 was present in membrane vesicle fractions (density 1.05-1.13 g/ml), rather than milk fat globule fractions. The weaning-induced MFG-E8 might play an important role in the recognition and engulfment of apoptotic epithelial cells by the neighbouring phagocytic epithelial cells in involuting mammary glands.
Project description:Milk fat globules (MFGs) are vesicles released in milk as fat droplets surrounded by the endoplasmic reticulum and apical cell membranes. During formation and apocrine secretion by lactocytes, various amounts of cytoplasmic crescents remain trapped within the released vesicle, making MFGs a natural sampling mechanism of the lactating cell contents. With the aim of investigating the events occurring in the mammary epithelium during bacterial infection, the MFG proteome was characterized by two-dimensional difference gel electrophoresis (2-D DIGE), SDS-PAGE followed by shotgun liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (GeLC-MS/MS), label-free quantification by the normalized spectral abundance factor (NSAF) approach, Western blotting, and pathway analysis, using sheep naturally infected by Mycoplasma agalactiae. A number of protein classes were found to increase in MFGs upon infection, including proteins involved in inflammation and host defense, cortical cytoskeleton proteins, heat shock proteins, and proteins related to oxidative stress. Conversely, a strikingly lower abundance was observed for proteins devoted to MFG metabolism and secretion. To our knowledge, this is the first report describing proteomic changes occurring in MFGs during sheep infectious mastitis. The results presented here offer new insights into the in vivo response of mammary epithelial cells to bacterial infection and open the way to the discovery of protein biomarkers for monitoring clinical and subclinical mastitis.
Project description:During the involution of mammary glands, epithelial cells undergo apoptosis and are cleared for the next cycle of lactation. The clearance of apoptotic epithelial cells is mediated by neighboring epithelial cells and by macrophages that migrate into the mammary glands. Here, we report that milk fat globule EGF factor 8 (MFG-E8), a secreted glycoprotein that binds to apoptotic cells by recognizing phosphatidylserine, was expressed by epithelial cells and macrophages in mammary glands and was involved in engulfment of apoptotic cells. A deficiency of MFG-E8 caused the accumulation of a large number of milk fat globules (MFGs) in the mammary ducts during involution, indicating that the excess MFGs were cleared by an MFG-E8-dependent mechanism. The MFG-E8(-/-) mice developed mammary duct ectasia with periductal mastitis, and the redevelopment of the mammary gland for their second litter was impaired. These results demonstrate that MFG-E8-mediated phagocytosis of apoptotic epithelial cells and MFGs is important for efficient involution of mammary glands.
Project description:The molecular physiology underlying human milk production is largely unknown because of limitations in obtaining tissue samples. Determining gene expression in normal lactating women would be a potential step toward understanding why some women struggle with or fail at breastfeeding their infants. Recently, we demonstrated the utility of RNA obtained from breast milk fat globule (MFG) to detect mammary epithelial cell (MEC)-specific gene expression. We used MFG RNA to determine the gene expression profile of human MEC during lactation. Microarray studies were performed using Human Ref-8 BeadChip arrays (Illumina). MFG RNA was collected every 3 h for 24 h from five healthy, exclusively breastfeeding women. We determined that 14,070 transcripts were expressed and represented the MFG transcriptome. According to GeneSpring GX 9, 156 ontology terms were enriched (corrected P < 0.05), which include cellular (n = 3,379 genes) and metabolic (n = 2,656) processes as the most significantly enriched biological process terms. The top networks and pathways were associated primarily with cellular activities most likely involved with milk synthesis. Multiple sampling over 24 h enabled us to demonstrate core circadian clock gene expression and the periodicity of 1,029 genes (7%) enriched for molecular functions involved in cell development, growth, proliferation, and cell morphology. In addition, we found that the MFG transcriptome was comparable to the metabolic gene expression profile described for the lactating mouse mammary gland. This paper is the first to describe the MFG transcriptome in sequential human samples over a 24 h period, providing valuable insights into gene expression in the human MEC.
Project description:Negative energy balance and ketosis are thought to cause impaired immune function and to increase the risk of clinical mastitis in dairy cows. The present in vitro study aimed to investigate the effect of elevated levels of the predominant ketone body ?-hydroxybutyrate on the innate defense capability of primary bovine mammary epithelial cells (pbMEC) challenged with the mastitis pathogen Escherichia coli (E. coli). Therefore, pbMEC of healthy dairy cows in mid- lactation were isolated from milk and challenged in culture with 3 mM BHBA and E. coli. pbMEC stimulated with E. coli for 6 h or 30 h showed an up-regulation of several innate immune genes, whereas co-stimulation of pbMEC with 3 mM BHBA and E. coli resulted in the down-regulation of CCL2, SAA3, LF and C3 gene expression compared to the challenge with solely the bacterial stimulus. These results indicated that increased BHBA concentrations may be partially responsible for the higher mastitis susceptibility of dairy cows in early lactation. Elevated levels of BHBA in blood and milk during negative energy balance and ketosis are likely to impair innate immune function in the bovine mammary gland by attenuating the expression of a broad range of innate immune genes.
Project description:Prototheca zopfii is an alga increasingly isolated from bovine mastitis. Of the two genotypes of P. zopfii (genotype I and II (GT-I and -II)), P. zopfii GT-II is the genotype associated with acute mastitis and decreased milk production, although its pathogenesis is not well known. The objective was to determine inflammatory and apoptotic roles of P. zopfii GT-II in cultured mammary epithelial cells (from cattle and mice) and murine macrophages and using a murine model of mastitis. Prototheca zopfii GT-II (but not GT-I) invaded bovine and murine mammary epithelial cells (MECs) and induced apoptosis, as determined by the terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase mediated deoxyuridine triphosphate nick end labeling assay. This P. zopfii GT-II driven apoptosis corresponded to mitochondrial pathways; mitochondrial transmembrane resistance (??m) was altered and modulation of mitochondrion-mediated apoptosis regulating genes changed (increased transcriptional Bax, cytochrome-c and Apaf-1 and downregulated Bcl-2), whereas caspase-9 and -3 expression increased. Apoptotic effects by P. zopfii GT-II were more pronounced in macrophages compared to MECs. In a murine mammary infection model, P. zopfii GT-II replicated in the mammary gland and caused severe inflammation with infiltration of macrophages and neutrophils and upregulation of pro-inflammatory genes (TNF-?, IL-1? and Cxcl-1) and also apoptosis of epithelial cells. Thus, we concluded P. zopfii GT-II is a mastitis-causing pathogen that triggers severe inflammation and also mitochondrial apoptosis.
Project description:A cattle database of candidate genes and genetic markers for milk production and mastitis has been developed to provide an integrated research tool incorporating different types of information supporting a genomic approach to study lactation, udder development and health. The database contains 943 genes and genetic markers involved in mammary gland development and function, representing candidates for further functional studies. The candidate loci were drawn on a genetic map to reveal positional overlaps. For identification of candidate loci, data from seven different research approaches were exploited: (i) gene knockouts or transgenes in mice that result in specific phenotypes associated with mammary gland (143 loci); (ii) cattle QTL for milk production (344) and mastitis related traits (71); (iii) loci with sequence variations that show specific allele-phenotype interactions associated with milk production (24) or mastitis (10) in cattle; (iv) genes with expression profiles associated with milk production (207) or mastitis (107) in cattle or mouse; (v) cattle milk protein genes that exist in different genetic variants (9); (vi) miRNAs expressed in bovine mammary gland (32) and (vii) epigenetically regulated cattle genes associated with mammary gland function (1). Fourty-four genes found by multiple independent analyses were suggested as the most promising candidates and were further in silico analysed for expression levels in lactating mammary gland, genetic variability and top biological functions in functional networks. A miRNA target search for mammary gland expressed miRNAs identified 359 putative binding sites in 3'UTRs of candidate genes.
Project description:The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of intramammary infusions of natural composition GLP 810 with immunomodulating properties on the local nonspecific cellular and humoral immune response in cows with subclinical mastitis. The composition GLP 810 consists of lactic acid, lysozyme, glycopeptides, and 0.9% solution of NaCl. The following parameters were studied: (1) leukocyte differential distribution in milk, (2) expression of cytokines in milk leukocytes, (3) antibacterial activity, and (4) milk quality. Nineteen mammary glands in five lactating cows were infused with 10?mL of GLP 810, and nineteen other glands from five control cows were treated with 10?mL 0.9% NaCl. The results showed that after intramammary administration of the composition GLP 810 three times with 48?h intervals, the following effects on leukocyte populations in milk were observed: (1) an increase in the number of polymorphonuclear leukocytes and lymphocytes and (2) a decrease in the number of macrophages. A reduction in the number of pathogenic bacteria was also detected. The analyses of tumour necrosis factor-alpha, interleukin-10, and beta-defensin-2 revealed that the production of the aforementioned cytokines significantly increased, whereas no significant effects on interleukin-1 and caspase-6 expression in milk leukocytes were recorded. However, there were significant differences between mammary glands with high and low milk somatic cell count. The results suggest that the composition GLP 810 has an immunomodulatory effect on mammary glands and it could be used for improving the immune response in cows with subclinical mastitis during lactation.