Centrin-Deleted Leishmania donovani Parasites Help CD4+ T Cells to Acquire Th1 Phenotype and Multi-Functionality Through Downregulation of CD200-CD200R Immune Inhibitory Axis.
ABSTRACT: The protozoan parasite Leishmania has evolved several strategies to undermine host defense mechanisms by inducing Th2-type adaptive immunity and suppressing effector functions of Th1 phenotype. In our earlier studies, using centrin gene-deleted Leishmania (LdCen-/-) parasites as an immunogen, we have shown induction of an effective Th1-type immunity and robust memory responses that mediate protection against virulent challenge. However, role of inhibitory signals in Leishmania vaccine induced immunity in general, and LdCen-/- in particular has not been studied. Herein, we report that immunization with LdCen-/- parasites produces more functional Th1-type CD4+ T cells via downregulation of CD200-CD200R immune inhibitory axis compared to wild-type infection. We found that expression of CD200 and CD200R was significantly reduced in LdCen-/- infection compared to wild-type infection. Diminished CD200-CD200R signaling in LdCen-/- infection enabled proliferation of CD4+ T cells and resulted in the induction of pro-inflammatory cytokines and suppression of anti-inflammatory response. The effects of diminished CD200-CD200R signaling by LdCen-/- were most evident in the suppression of IL-10-producing CD4+ T cells that helped enhance more Th1 cytokine producing and multi-functional T cells compared to wild-type infection. In vivo blocking of CD200 expression with anti-CD200 treatment in wild-type infected mice limited Th2 response as indicated by reduction of IL-10-producing Tr1 cells and reduced parasite burden. On the other hand, treatment with anti-CD200 improved the LdCen-/- vaccine-induced multifunctional response and reduction in splenic parasite load upon challenge. Taken together, these studies demonstrate the role of CD200-CD200R signals in the protection induced by LdCen-/- parasites.
Project description:No vaccine exists against visceral leishmaniasis. To develop effective vaccines, we have previously reported protective role of live attenuated centrin gene-deleted Leishmania donovani (LdCen-/- ) parasites through induction of Th1 type immune response in mice, hamsters, and dogs. In this study, we specifically explored the role of Th17 cells in LdCen-/- -induced host protection in mice. Our results showed that compared with wild-type L. donovani infection, LdCen-/- parasites induce significantly higher expression of Th17 differentiation cytokines in splenic dendritic cells. There was also induction of IL-17 and its promoting cytokines in total splenocytes and in both CD4 and CD8 T cells following immunization with LdCen-/- Upon challenge with wild-type parasites, IL-17 and its differentiating cytokines were significantly higher in LdCen-/- -immunized mice compared with nonimmunized mice that resulted in parasite control. Alongside IL-17 induction, we observed induction of IFN-?-producing Th1 cells as reported earlier. However, Th17 cells are generated before Th1 cells. Neutralization of either IL-17 or IFN-? abrogated LdCen-/- -induced host protection further confirming the essential role of Th17 along with Th1 cytokines in host protection. Treatment with recombinant IL-23, which is required for stabilization and maintenance of IL-17, heightened Th17, and Tc17 responses in immunized mice splenocytes. In contrast, Th17 response was absent in immunized IL-23R-/- mice that failed to induce protection upon virulent Leishmania challenge suggesting that IL-23 plays an essential role in IL-17-mediated protection by LdCen-/- parasites. This study unveiled the role of IL-23-dependent IL-17 induction in LdCen-/- parasite-induced immunity and subsequent protection against visceral leishmaniasis.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) caused by the protozoan parasite Leishmania donovani causes severe disease. Age appears to be critical in determining the clinical outcome of VL and at present there is no effective vaccine available against VL for any age group. Previously, we showed that genetically modified live attenuated L. donovani parasites (LdCen-/-) induced a strong protective innate and adaptive immune response in young mice. In this study we analyzed LdCen-/- parasite mediated modulation of innate and adaptive immune response in aged mice (18 months) and compared to young (2 months) mice. METHODOLOGY:Analysis of innate immune response in bone marrow derived dendritic cells (BMDCs) from both young and aged mice upon infection with LdCen-/- parasites, showed significant enhancement of innate effector responses, which consequently augmented CD4+ Th1 cell effector function compared to LdWT infected BMDCs in vitro. Similarly, parasitized splenic dendritic cells from LdCen-/- infected young and aged mice also revealed induction of proinflammatory cytokines (IL-12, IL-6, IFN-? and TNF) and subsequent down regulation of anti-inflammatory cytokine (IL-10) genes compared to LdWT infected mice. We also evaluated in vivo protection of the LdCen-/- immunized young and aged mice against virulent L. donovani challenge. Immunization with LdCen-/- induced higher IgG2a antibodies, lymphoproliferative response, pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokine responses and stimulated splenocytes for heightened leishmanicidal activity associated with nitric oxide production in young and aged mice. Furthermore, upon virulent L. donovani challenge, LdCen-/- immunized mice from both age groups displayed multifunctional Th1-type CD4 and cytotoxic CD8 T cells correlating to a significantly reduced parasite burden in the spleen and liver compared to naïve mice. It is interesting to note that even though there was no difference in the LdCen-/- induced innate response in dendritic cells between aged and young mice; the adaptive response specifically in terms of T cell and B cell activation in aged animals was reduced compared to young mice which correlated with less protection in old mice compared to young mice. CONCLUSIONS:Taken together, LdCen-/- immunization induced a significant but diminished host protective response in aged mice after challenge with virulent L. donovani parasites compared to young mice.
Project description:Currently, there is no vaccine against visceral leishmaniasis (VL). Toward developing an effective vaccine, we have reported extensively on the immunogenicity of live attenuated LdCentrin-/- mutants in naive animal models. In VL endemic areas, asymptomatic carriers outnumber symptomatic cases of VL and are considered to be a reservoir of infection. Vaccination of asymptomatic cases represents a viable strategy to eliminate VL. Immunological correlates of protection thus derived might have limited applicability in conditions where the immunized host has prior exposure to virulent infection. To examine whether LdCen-/- parasites can induce protective immunity in experimental hosts that have low-level parasitemia from a previous exposure mimicking an asymptomatic condition, we infected C57Bl/6 mice with wild-type Leishmania donovani parasites expressing LLO epitope (LdWT LLO 103, i.v.). After 3?weeks, the mice with low levels of parasitemia were immunized with LdCen-/- parasites expressing 2W epitope (LdCen-/-2W 3?×?106 i.v.) to characterize the immune responses in the same host. Antigen experienced CD4+ T cells from the asymptomatic (LdWT LLO infected) LdCen-/-2W immunized, and other control groups were enriched using LLO- and 2W-specific tetramers, followed by Flow cytometric analysis. Our analysis showed that comparable CD4+ T cell proliferation and CD4+ memory T cell responses (TCM) represented by CD62Lhi, CCR7+, and IL-7R+ T cell populations were induced with LdCen-/-2W in both asymptomatic and naive animals that received LdCen-/- immunization. Upon restimulation with peptide, TCM cells differentiated into effector T cells and there was no significant difference in the recall response in animals with asymptomatic infection. Following virulent challenge, comparable reduction in splenic parasite burden was observed in both asymptomatic and naive LdCen-/- immunized animals concomitant with the development of multifunctional CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. Further, LdCen-/-2W immunization resulted in complete clearance of the preexisting asymptomatic infection (LdWT LLO ). Our results demonstrate that LdCen-/-2W immunization could be efficacious for use in asymptomatic VL individuals. Further, immunization with LdCen-/- could help in reducing the parasite burden in the asymptomatic cases and aid in controlling the VL in endemic areas.
Project description:Previously, we showed that genetically modified live-attenuated Leishmania donovani parasite cell lines (LdCen(-/-) and Ldp27(-/-)) induce a strong cellular immunity and provide protection against visceral leishmaniasis in mice. In this study, we explored the mechanism of cross-protection against cutaneous lesion-causing Leishmania mexicana. Upon challenge with wild-type L. mexicana, mice immunized either for short or long periods showed significant protection. Immunohistochemical analysis of ears from immunized/challenged mice exhibited significant influx of macrophages, as well as cells expressing MHC class II and inducible NO synthase, suggesting an induction of potent host-protective proinflammatory responses. In contrast, substantial inhibition of IL-10, IL-4, and IL-13 expression and the absence of degranulated mast cells and less influx of eosinophils within the ears of immunized/challenged mice suggested a controlled anti-inflammatory response. L. mexicana Ag-stimulated lymph node cell culture from the immunized/challenged mice revealed induction of IFN-? secretion by the CD4 and CD8 T cells compared with non-immunized/challenged mice. We also observed suppression of Th2 cytokines in the culture supernatants of immunized/challenged lymph nodes compared with non-immunized/challenged mice. Adoptively transferred total T cells from immunized mice conferred strong protection in recipient mice against L. mexicana infection, suggesting that attenuated L. donovani can provide protection against heterologous L. mexicana parasites by induction of a strong T cell response. Furthermore, bone marrow-derived dendritic cells infected with LdCen(-/-) and Ldp27(-/-) parasites were capable of inducing a strong proinflammatory response leading to the proliferation of Th1 cells. These studies demonstrate the potential of live-attenuated L. donovani parasites as pan-Leishmania species vaccines.
Project description:Certain parasites have evolved to evade the immune response and establish chronic infections that may persist for many years. T cell responses in these conditions become muted despite ongoing infection. Upregulation of surface receptors with inhibitory properties provides an immune cell-intrinsic mechanism that, under conditions of chronic infection, regulates immune responses and limits cellular activation and associated pathology. The negative regulator, CD200 receptor, and its ligand, CD200, have been shown to regulate macrophage activation and reduce pathology following infection. We show that CD4 T cells also increase expression of inhibitory CD200 receptors (CD200R) in response to chronic infection. CD200R was upregulated on murine effector T cells in response to infection with bacterial, Salmonella enterica, or helminth, Schistosoma mansoni, pathogens that respectively drive predominant Th1- or Th2-responses. In vitro chronic and prolonged stimuli were required for the sustained upregulation of CD200R, and its expression coincided with loss of multifunctional potential in T effector cells during infection. Importantly, we show an association between IL-4 production and CD200R expression on T effector cells from humans infected with Schistosoma haematobium that correlated effectively with egg burden and, thus infection intensity. Our results indicate a role of CD200R:CD200 in T cell responses to helminths which has diagnostic and prognostic relevance as a marker of infection for chronic schistosomiasis in mouse and man.
Project description:Leishmania parasites infect macrophages, cells normally involved in innate defense against pathogens. Leishmania amazonensis and Leishmania major cause severe or mild disease, respectively, consistent with each parasite's ability to survive within activated macrophages. The mechanisms underlying increased virulence of L. amazonensis are mostly unknown. We show that L. amazonensis promotes its own survival by inducing expression of CD200, an immunoregulatory molecule that inhibits macrophage activation. L. amazonensis does not form typical nonhealing lesions in CD200(-/-) mice and cannot replicate in CD200(-/-) macrophages, an effect reversed by exogenous administration of soluble CD200-Fc. The less virulent L. major does not induce CD200 expression and forms small, self-healing lesions in both wild-type and CD200(-/-) mice. Notably, CD200-Fc injection transforms the course of L. major infection to one resembling L. amazonensis, with large, nonhealing lesions. CD200-dependent iNOS inhibition allows parasite growth in macrophages, identifying a mechanism for the increased virulence of L. amazonensis.
Project description:Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is a neglected tropical disease and is fatal if untreated. There is no vaccine available against leishmaniasis. The majority of patients with cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) or VL develop a long-term protective immunity after cure from infection, which indicates that development of an effective vaccine against leishmaniasis is possible. Such protection may also be achieved by immunization with live attenuated parasites that do not cause disease. We have previously reported a protective response in mice, hamsters and dogs with Leishmania donovani centrin gene knock-out parasites (LdCen-/-), a live attenuated parasite with a cell division specific centrin1 gene deletion. In this study we have explored the effects of salivary protein LJM19 as an adjuvant and intradermal (ID) route of immunization on the efficacy of LdCen-/- parasites as a vaccine against virulent L. donovani.To explore the potential of a combination of LdCen-/- parasites and salivary protein LJM19 as vaccine antigens, LdCen-/- ID immunization followed by ID challenge with virulent L. donovani were performed in hamsters in a 9-month follow up study. We determined parasite burden (serial dilution), antibody production (ELISA) and cytokine expression (qPCR) in these animals. Compared to controls, animals immunized with LdCen-/- + LJM19 induced a strong antibody response, a reduction in spleen and liver parasite burden and a higher expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines after immunization and one month post-challenge. Additionally, a low parasite load in lymph nodes, spleen and liver, and a non-inflamed spleen was observed in immunized animals 9 months after the challenge infection.Our results demonstrate that an ID vaccination using LdCen-/-parasites in combination with sand fly salivary protein LJM19 has the capability to confer long lasting protection against visceral leishmaniasis that is comparable to intravenous or intracardial immunization.
Project description:No licensed human vaccines are currently available against leishmaniasis. Several anti-leishmanial vaccines are currently undergoing testing, including genetically modified live-attenuated parasite vaccines. Studies with live attenuated Leishmania vaccines such as centrin deleted Leishmania donovani parasites (LdCen -/-) showed protective immunity in animal models. Such studies typically examined the biomarkers of protective immunity however the biomarkers of attenuation in the parasite preparations have not received adequate attention. As several candidate vaccines enter clinical trials, a more complete product characterization to enable maintenance of product quality will help meet regulatory requirements. Towards this goal, we have determined the complete genome sequence of LdCen -/- and its parent strain Ld1S-2D (LdWT) and characterized the LdCen -/- vaccine strain using bioinformatics tools. Results showed that the LdCen -/- parasites, in addition to loss of the centrin gene, have additional deletions ranging from 350 bp to 6900 bp in non-contiguous loci on several chromosomes, most commonly in untranslated regions. We have experimentally verified a subset of these adventitious deletions that had no impact on the attenuation of the LdCen -/- parasites. Our results identified hitherto unknown features of attenuation of virulence that could be used as markers of product quality in production lots and highlight the importance of product characterization in parasitic vaccines.
Project description:Previous studies have shown that the interaction of CD200R, a myeloid inhibitory receptor, with its ligand, CD200, is critical in the control of innate immune activation in the lung.Using a mouse model of bacterial superinfection following influenza, we show that an absence of CD200R (a negative regulator highly expressed by macrophages and dendritic cells), restricts commensal and exogenous bacterial invasiveness and completely prevents the mortality observed in wild-type mice. This benefit is due to a heightened innate immune response to influenza virus in cd200r knockout mice that limits immune pathogenesis and viral load. In wild-type mice, apoptotic cells expressing CD200 that we believe contribute to the suppressed innate immune response to bacteria dominate during the resolution phase of influenza-induced inflammation. We also show for the first time the presence of a variety of previously unidentified bacterial species in the lower airways that are significantly adjusted by influenza virus infection and may contribute to the pathophysiology of disease.The interaction of CD200 with CD200R therefore contributes to the hyporesponsive innate immune state following influenza virus infection that predisposes to secondary bacterial infection, a phenomenon that has the potential for immune modulation.
Project description:No vaccine exists against visceral leishmaniasis. Toward developing vaccines against VL, we have reported previously on the immunogenicity of live attenuated LdCen -/- parasites in animal models. Immunization with LdCen -/- parasites has been shown to induce durable protective immunity in pre-clinical animal models. Although the innate immune responses favoring a Th1 type immunity are produced following LdCen -/- immunization, the molecular determinants of such responses remain unknown. To identify early biomarkers of immunogenicity associated with live attenuated parasitic vaccines, we infected macrophages derived from healthy human blood donors with LdCen -/- or LdWT parasites ex vivo and compared the early gene expression profiles. In addition to altered expression of immune related genes, we identified several microRNAs that regulate important cytokine genes, significantly altered in LdCen -/- infection compared to LdWT infection. Importantly, we found that LdCen -/- infection suppresses the expression of microRNA-21 (miR-21) in human macrophages, which negatively regulates IL12, compared to LdWT infection. In murine DC experiments, LdCen -/- infection showed a reduced miR-21 expression with a concomitant induction of IL12. Silencing of miR-21 using specific inhibitors resulted in an augmented induction of IL12 in LdWT infected BMDCs, illustrating the role of miR-21 in LdWT mediated suppression of IL12. Further, exosomes isolated from LdCen -/- infected DCs contained significantly reduced levels of miR-21 compared to LdWT infection, that promoted proliferation of CD4+ T cells in vitro. Similar miR-21 mediated IL12 regulation was also observed in ex vivo human macrophage infection experiments indicating that miR-21 plays a role in early IL12 mediated immunity. Our studies demonstrate that LdCen -/- infection suppresses miR-21 expression, enables IL12 mediated induction of adaptive immunity including proliferation of antigen experienced CD4+ T cells and development of a Th1 immunity, and suggest that miR-21 could be an important biomarker for LdCen -/- vaccine immunity in human clinical trials. One Sentence Summary:Role of miR-21 in vaccine induced immunity.