MyD88-dependent inflammasome activation and autophagy inhibition contributes to Ehrlichia-induced liver injury and toxic shock.
ABSTRACT: Severe hepatic inflammation is a common cause of acute liver injury following systemic infection with Ehrlichia, obligate Gram-negative intracellular bacteria that lack lipopolysaccharide (LPS). We have previously shown that type I IFN (IFN-I) and inflammasome activation are key host-pathogenic mediators that promote excessive inflammation and liver damage following fatal Ehrlichia infection. However, the underlying signals and mechanisms that regulate protective immunity and immunopathology during Ehrlichia infection are not well understood. To address this issue, we compared susceptibility to lethal Ixodes ovatus Ehrlichia (IOE) infection between wild type (WT) and MyD88-deficient (MyD88-/-) mice. We show here that MyD88-/- mice exhibited decreased inflammasome activation, attenuated liver injury, and were more resistant to lethal infection than WT mice, despite suppressed protective immunity and increased bacterial burden in the liver. MyD88-dependent inflammasome activation was also dependent on activation of the metabolic checkpoint kinase mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1), inhibition of autophagic flux, and defective mitophagy in macrophages. Blocking mTORC1 signaling in infected WT mice and primary macrophages enhanced bacterial replication and attenuated inflammasome activation, suggesting autophagy promotes bacterial replication while inhibiting inflammasome activation. Finally, our data suggest TLR9 and IFN-I are upstream signaling mechanisms triggering MyD88-mediated mTORC1 and inflammasome activation in macrophages following Ehrlichia infection. This study reveals that Ehrlichia-induced liver injury and toxic shock are mediated by MyD88-dependent inflammasome activation and autophagy inhibition.
Project description:A polarized macrophage response into inflammatory (M1) or regenerative/anti-inflammatory (M2) phenotypes is critical in host response to multiple intracellular bacterial infections. Ehrlichia is an obligate Gram-negative intracellular bacterium that causes human monocytic ehrlichiosis (HME): a febrile illness that may progress to fatal sepsis with multi-organ failure. We have shown that liver injury and Ehrlichia-induced sepsis occur due to dysregulated inflammation. Here, we investigated the contribution of macrophages to Ehrlichia-induced sepsis using murine models of mild and fatal ehrlichiosis. Lethally-infected mice showed accumulation of M1 macrophages (iNOS-positive) in the liver. In contrast, non-lethally infected mice showed polarization of M2 macrophages and their accumulation in peritoneum, but not in the liver. Predominance of M1 macrophages in lethally-infected mice was associated with expansion of IL-17-producing T, NK, and NKT cells. Consistent with the in vivo data, infection of bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMM) with lethal Ehrlichia polarized M0 macrophages into M1 phenotype under an mTORC1-dependent manner, while infection with non-lethal Ehrlichia polarized these cells into M2 types. This work highlights that mTORC1-mediated polarization of macrophages towards M1 phenotype may contribute to induction of pathogenic immune responses during fatal ehrlichiosis. Targeting mTORC1 pathway may provide a novel aproach for treatment of HME.
Project description:Activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome by diverse stimuli requires a priming signal from TLRs and an activation signal from purinergic receptors or pore-forming toxins. In this study, we demonstrate, through detailed analysis of NLRP3 activation in macrophages deficient in key downstream TLR signaling molecules, that MyD88 is required for an immediate early phase, whereas Toll/IL-1R domain-containing adapter inducing IFN-? is required for a subsequent intermediate phase of posttranslational NLRP3 activation. Both IL-1R-associated kinase (IRAK) 1 and IRAK4 are critical for rapid activation of NLRP3 through the MyD88 pathway, but only IRAK1 is partially required in the Toll/IL-1R domain-containing adapter inducing IFN-? pathway. IRAK1 and IRAK4 are also required for rapid activation of NLRP3 by Listeria monocytogenes, as deletion of IRAK1 or IRAK4 led to defective inflammasome activation. These findings define the pathways that lead to rapid NLRP3 activation and identify IRAK1 as a critical mediator of a transcription-independent,inflammasome-dependent early warning response to pathogenic infection.
Project description:The inflammasome plays a critical role in inflammation and immune responses against pathogens. However, whether or how inflammasome activation regulates type I interferon (IFN-I) signaling in the context of malaria infection remain unknown. Here we show mice deficient in inflammasome sensors AIM2, NLRP3 or adaptor Caspase-1 produce high levels of IFN-I cytokines and are resistant to lethal Plasmodium yoelii YM infection. Inactivation of inflammasome signaling reduces interleukin (IL)-1? production, but increases IFN-I production. Mechanistically, we show inflammsome activation enhances IL-1?-mediated MyD88-TRAF3-IRF3 signaling and SOCS1 upregulation. However, SOCS1 inhibits MyD88-IRF7-mediated-IFN-I signaling and cytokine production in plasmacytoid dendritic cells. By contrast, ablation of inflammsome components reduces SOCS1 induction, and relieves its inhibition on MyD88-IRF7-dependent-IFN-I signaling, leading to high levels of IFN-?/? production and host survival. Our study identifies a previously unrecognized role of inflammasome activation in the negative regulation of IFN-I signaling pathways and provides potential targets for developing effective malaria vaccines.
Project description:Trypanosoma cruzi (T. cruzi) is an intracellular protozoan parasite and the etiological agent of Chagas disease, a chronic infectious illness that affects millions of people worldwide. Although the role of TLR and Nod1 in the control of T. cruzi infection is well-established, the involvement of inflammasomes remains to be elucidated. Herein, we demonstrate for the first time that T. cruzi infection induces IL-1? production in an NLRP3- and caspase-1-dependent manner. Cathepsin B appears to be required for NLRP3 activation in response to infection with T. cruzi, as pharmacological inhibition of cathepsin B abrogates IL-1? secretion. NLRP3(-/-) and caspase1(-/-) mice exhibited high numbers of T. cruzi parasites, with a magnitude of peak parasitemia comparable to MyD88(-/-) and iNOS(-/-) mice (which are susceptible models for T. cruzi infection), indicating the involvement of NLRP3 inflammasome in the control of the acute phase of T. cruzi infection. Although the inflammatory cytokines IL-6 and IFN-? were found in spleen cells from NLRP3(-/-) and caspase1(-/-) mice infected with T. cruzi, these mice exhibited severe defects in nitric oxide (NO) production and an impairment in macrophage-mediated parasite killing. Interestingly, neutralization of IL-1? and IL-18, and IL-1R genetic deficiency demonstrate that these cytokines have a minor effect on NO secretion and the capacity of macrophages to control T. cruzi infection. In contrast, inhibition of caspase-1 with z-YVAD-fmk abrogated NO production by WT and MyD88(-/-) macrophages and rendered them as susceptible to T. cruzi infection as NLRP3(-/-) and caspase-1(-/-) macrophages. Taken together, our results demonstrate a role for the NLRP3 inflammasome in the control of T. cruzi infection and identify NLRP3-mediated, caspase-1-dependent and IL-1R-independent NO production as a novel effector mechanism for these innate receptors.
Project description:Some pathogens can use host suppressor of cytokine signaling 1 (SOCS-1), an important negative-feedback molecule, as the main mode of immune evasion. Here we found that group A Streptococcus (GAS) is capable of inducing SOCS-1 expression in RAW264.7 and BMDM macrophages. IFN-? plays a role in GAS-induced SOCS-1 expression in macrophages following the induction of cytokine expression by GAS, representing the classical pathway of SOCS-1 expression. However, GAS also induced STAT1 activation and SOCS-1 expression when GAS-infected cells were incubated with anti-IFN-? monoclonal antibody in this study. Moreover, upon comparing TLR4(-/-) BMDM macrophages with wild-type (WT) cells, we found that TLR4 also plays an essential role in the induction of SOCS-1. MyD88, which is an adaptor protein for TLR4, contributes to STAT1 activation and phosphorylation by forming a complex with Janus kinase 1 (JAK1) and signal transducer and activator of transcription 1 (STAT1) in macrophages. GAS-stimulated expression of STAT1 was severely impaired in MyD88(-/-) macrophages, whereas expression of JAK1 was unaffected, suggesting that MyD88 was involved in STAT1 expression and phosphorylation. Together, these data demonstrated that in addition to IFN-? signaling and MyD88 complex formation, JAK1 and STAT1 act in a novel pathway to directly induce SOCS-1 expression in GAS-infected macrophages, which may be more conducive to rapid bacterial infection.
Project description:The binding of IL-18 to IL-18R? induces both proinflammatory and protective functions during infection, depending on the context in which it occurs. IL-18 is highly expressed in the liver of wild-type (WT) C57BL/6 mice following lethal infection with highly virulent Ixodes ovatus ehrlichia (IOE), an obligate intracellular bacterium that causes acute fatal toxic shock-like syndrome. In this study, we found that IOE infection of IL-18R?(-/-) mice resulted in significantly less host cell apoptosis, decreased hepatic leukocyte recruitment, enhanced bacterial clearance, and prolonged survival compared with infected WT mice, suggesting a pathogenic role for IL-18/IL-18R? in Ehrlichia-induced toxic shock. Although lack of IL-18R decreased the magnitude of IFN-? producing type-1 immune response, enhanced resistance of IL-18R?(-/-) mice against Ehrlichia correlated with increased proinflammatory cytokines at sites of infection, decreased systemic IL-10 production, increased frequency of protective NKT cells producing TNF-? and IFN-?, and decreased frequency of pathogenic TNF-?-producing CD8(+) T cells. Adoptive transfer of immune WT CD8(+) T cells increased bacterial burden in IL-18R?(-/-) mice following IOE infection. Furthermore, rIL-18 treatment of WT mice infected with mildly virulent Ehrlichia muris impaired bacterial clearance and enhanced liver injury. Finally, lack of IL-18R signal reduced dendritic cell maturation and their TNF-? production, suggesting that IL-18 might promote the adaptive pathogenic immune responses against Ehrlichia by influencing T cell priming functions of dendritic cells. Together, these results suggested that the presence or absence of IL-18R signals governs the pathogenic versus protective immunity in a model of Ehrlichia-induced immunopathology.
Project description:Infection with protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi results in activation of nucleotide-binding domain and leucine-rich repeat containing receptors (NLRs). NLR activation leads to inflammasome formation, the activation of caspase-1, and the subsequent cleavage of IL-1? and IL-18. Considering that inflammasome activation and IL-1? induction by macrophages are key players for an appropriate T cell response, we investigated the relevance of NLR pyrin domain-containing 3 (NLRP3) and caspase-1/11 to elucidate their roles in the induction of different T cell phenotypes and the relationship with parasite load and hepatic inflammation during T. cruzi-Tulahuen strain acute infection. We demonstrated that infected nlrp3-/- and C57BL/6 wild type (WT) mice exhibited similar parasitemia and survival, although the parasite load was higher in the livers of nlrp3-/- mice than in those of WT mice. Increased levels of transaminases and pro-inflammatory cytokines were found in the plasma of WT and nlrp3-/- mice indicating that NLRP3 is dispensable to control the parasitemia but it is required for a better clearance of parasites in the liver. Importantly, we have found that NLRP3 and caspase-1/11-deficient mice differentially modulate T helper (Th1, Th2, and Th17) and cytotoxic T lymphocyte phenotypes. Strikingly, caspase-1/11-/- mice showed the most dramatic reduction in the number of IFN-?- and IL-17-producing CD4+ and CD8+ T cells associated with higher parasitemia and lower survival. Additionally, caspase-1/11-/- mice demonstrated significantly reduced liver inflammation with the lowest alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels but the highest hepatic parasitic load. These results unequivocally demonstrate that caspase-1/11 pathway plays an important role in the induction of liver adaptive immunity against this parasite infection as well as in hepatic inflammation.
Project description:Innate recognition of invading intracellular pathogens is essential for regulating robust and rapid CD4+ T cell effector function, which is critical for host-mediated immunity. The intracellular apicomplexan parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, is capable of infecting almost any nucleated cell of warm-blooded animals, including humans, and establishing tissue cysts that persist throughout the lifetime of the host. Recognition of T. gondii by TLRs is essential for robust IL-12 and IFN-? production, two major cytokines involved in host resistance to the parasite. In the murine model of infection, robust IL-12 and IFN-? production have been largely attributed to T. gondii profilin recognition by the TLR11 and TLR12 heterodimer complex, resulting in Myd88-dependent IL-12 production. However, TLR11 or TLR12 deficiency failed to recapitulate the acute susceptibility to T. gondii infection seen in Myd88-/- mice. T. gondii triggers inflammasome activation in a caspase-1-dependent manner resulting in cytokine release; however, it remains undetermined if parasite-mediated inflammasome activation impacts IFN-? production and host resistance to the parasite. Using mice which lack different inflammasome components, we observed that the inflammasome played a limited role in host resistance when TLR11 remained functional. Strikingly, in the absence of TLR11, caspase-1 and -11 played a significant role for robust CD4+ TH1-derived IFN-? responses and host survival. Moreover, we demonstrated that in the absence of TLR11, production of the caspase-1-dependent cytokine IL-18 was sufficient and necessary for CD4+ T cell-derived IFN-? responses. Mechanistically, we established that T. gondii-mediated activation of the inflammasome and IL-18 were critical to maintain robust CD4+ TH1 IFN-? responses during parasite infection in the absence of TLR11.
Project description:Chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a leading cause of liver disease. Liver inflammation underlies infection-induced fibrosis, cirrhosis and liver cancer but the processes that promote hepatic inflammation by HCV are not defined. We provide a systems biology analysis with multiple lines of evidence to indicate that interleukin-1? (IL-1?) production by intrahepatic macrophages confers liver inflammation through HCV-induced inflammasome signaling. Chronic hepatitis C patients exhibited elevated levels of serum IL-1? compared to healthy controls. Immunohistochemical analysis of healthy control and chronic hepatitis C liver sections revealed that Kupffer cells, resident hepatic macrophages, are the primary cellular source of hepatic IL-1? during HCV infection. Accordingly, we found that both blood monocyte-derived primary human macrophages, and Kupffer cells recovered from normal donor liver, produce IL-1? after HCV exposure. Using the THP-1 macrophage cell-culture model, we found that HCV drives a rapid but transient caspase-1 activation to stimulate IL-1? secretion. HCV can enter macrophages through non-CD81 mediated phagocytic uptake that is independent of productive infection. Viral RNA triggers MyD88-mediated TLR7 signaling to induce IL-1? mRNA expression. HCV uptake concomitantly induces a potassium efflux that activates the NLRP3 inflammasome for IL-1? processing and secretion. RNA sequencing analysis comparing THP1 cells and chronic hepatitis C patient liver demonstrates that viral engagement of the NLRP3 inflammasome stimulates IL-1? production to drive proinflammatory cytokine, chemokine, and immune-regulatory gene expression networks linked with HCV disease severity. These studies identify intrahepatic IL-1? production as a central feature of liver inflammation during HCV infection. Thus, strategies to suppress NLRP3 or IL-1? activity could offer therapeutic actions to reduce hepatic inflammation and mitigate disease.
Project description:The ehrlichiae are small gram-negative obligate intracellular bacteria in the family Anaplasmataceae. Ehrlichial infection in an accidental host may result in fatal diseases such as human monocytotropic ehrlichiosis, an emerging, tick-borne disease. Although the role of adaptive immune responses in the protection against ehrlichiosis has been well studied, the mechanism by which the innate immune system is activated is not fully understood. Using Ehrlichia muris as a model organism, we show here that MyD88-dependent signaling pathways play a pivotal role in the host defense against ehrlichial infection. Upon E. muris infection, MyD88-deficient mice had significantly impaired clearance of E. muris, as well as decreased inflammation, characterized by reduced splenomegaly and recruitment of macrophages and neutrophils. Furthermore, MyD88-deficient mice produced markedly lower levels of IL-12, which correlated well with an impaired Th1 immune response. In vitro, dendritic cells, but not macrophages, efficiently produced IL-12 upon E. muris infection through a MyD88-dependent mechanism. Therefore, MyD88-dependent signaling is required for controlling ehrlichial infection by playing an essential role in the immediate activation of the innate immune system and inflammatory cytokine production, as well as in the activation of the adaptive immune system at a later stage by providing for optimal Th1 immune responses.