Gene expression patterns associated with Leishmania panamensis infection in macrophages from BALB/c and C57BL/6 mice.
ABSTRACT: Leishmania parasites can trigger different host immune responses that result in varying levels of disease severity. The C57BL/6 and BALB/c mouse strains are among the host models commonly used for characterizing the immunopathogenesis of Leishmania species and the possible antileishmanial effect of novel drug candidates. C57BL/6 mice tend to be resistant to Leishmania infections, whereas BALB/c mice display a susceptible phenotype. Studying species-specific interactions between Leishmania parasites and different host systems is a key step to characterize and validate these models for in vivo studies. Here, we use RNA-Seq and differential expression analysis to characterize the transcriptomic profiles of C57BL/6 and BALB/c peritoneal-derived macrophages in response to Leishmania panamensis infection. We observed differences between BALB/c and C57BL/6 macrophages regarding pathways associated with lysosomal degradation, arginine metabolism and the regulation of cell cycle. We also observed differences in the expression of chemokine and cytokine genes associated with regulation of immune responses. In conclusion, infection with L. panamensis induced an inflammatory gene expression pattern in C57BL/6 macrophages that is more consistently associated with a classic macrophage M1 activation, whereas in BALB/c macrophages a gene expression pattern consistent with an intermediate inflammatory response was observed.
Project description:The mechanisms of Leishmania resistance to antimonials have been primarily determined in experimentally derived Leishmania strains. However, their participation in the susceptibility phenotype in field isolates has not been conclusively established. Being an intracellular parasite, the activity of antileishmanials is dependent on internalization of drugs into host cells and effective delivery to the intracellular compartments inhabited by the parasite. In this study we quantified and comparatively analyzed the gene expression of nine molecules involved in mechanisms of xenobiotic detoxification and Leishmania resistance to antimonial drugs in resistant and susceptible laboratory derived and clinical L.(Viannia) panamensis strains(n=19). In addition, we explored the impact of Leishmania susceptibility to antimonials on the expression of macrophage gene products having putative functions in transport, accumulation and metabolism of antimonials. As previously shown for other Leishmania species, a trend of increased abcc3 and lower aqp-1 expression was observed in the laboratory derived Sb-resistant L.(V.) panamensis line. However, this was not found in clinical strains, in which the expression of abca2 was significantly higher in resistant strains as both, promastigotes and intracellular amastigotes. The effect of drug susceptibility on host cell gene expression was evaluated on primary human macrophages from patients with cutaneous leishmaniasis (n=17) infected ex-vivo with the matched L.(V.) panamensis strains isolated at diagnosis, and in THP-1 cells infected with clinical strains (n=6) and laboratory adapted L.(V.) panamensis lines. Four molecules, abcb1 (p-gp), abcb6, aqp-9 and mt2a were differentially modulated by drug resistant and susceptible parasites, and among these, a consistent and significantly increased expression of the xenobiotic scavenging molecule mt2a was observed in macrophages infected with Sb-susceptible L. (V.) panamensis. Our results substantiate that different mechanisms of drug resistance operate in laboratory adapted and clinical Leishmania strains, and provide evidence that parasite-mediated modulation of host cell gene expression of molecules involved in drug transport and metabolism could contribute to the mechanisms of drug resistance and susceptibility in Leishmania.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Previous findings indicate that susceptibility to Leishmania (Viannia) panamensis infection of monocyte-derived macrophages from patients and asymptomatically infected individuals were associated with the adaptive immune response and clinical outcome. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:To understand the basis for this difference we examined differential gene expression of human monocyte-derived macrophages following exposure to L. (V.) panamensis. Gene activation profiles were determined using macrophages from healthy volunteers cultured with or without stationary phase promastigotes of L. (V.) panamensis. Significant changes in expression (>1.5-fold change; p<0.05; up- or down-regulated) were identified at 0.5, 4 and 24 hours. mRNA abundance profiles varied over time, with the highest level of activation occurring at earlier time points (0.5 and 4 hrs). In contrast to observations for other Leishmania species, most significantly changed mRNAs were up- rather than down-regulated, especially at early time points. Up-regulated transcripts over the first 24 hours belonged to pathways involving eicosanoid metabolism, oxidative stress, activation of PKC through G protein coupled receptors, or mechanism of gene regulation by peroxisome proliferators via PPAR?. Additionally, a marked activation of Toll-receptor mediated pathways was observed. Comparison with published microarray data from macrophages infected with L. (Leishmania) chagasi indicate differences in the regulation of genes involved in signaling, motility and the immune response. CONCLUSIONS:Results show that the early (0.5 to 24 hours) human monocyte-derived macrophage response to L. (Viannia) panamensis is not quiescent, in contrast to published reports examining later response times (48-96 hours). Early macrophage responses are important for the developing cellular response at the site of infection. The kinetics and the mRNA abundance profiles induced by L. (Viannia) panamensis illustrate the dynamics of these interactions and the distinct biologic responses to different Leishmania species from the outset of infection within their primary host cell.
Project description:Leishmania panamensis is a relevant causative agent of tegumentary leishmaniasis in several Latin American countries. Available antileishmanial drugs have several limitations including relatively high toxicity, difficult administration, high production costs and the emergence of resistance in circulating strains. Therefore, the identification of new molecules as potential therapeutics for leishmaniasis is of great relevance. Here, we developed a murine model of L. panamensis infection and evaluated the effect of a new compound in vivo. After treatment of animals with the compound, we observed a significant reduction of inflammation and parasite load at the inoculation site, in a dose-dependent manner. We observed a reduction in IL-10 production by popliteal lymph nodes cells of infected mice. These results pave the way for future evaluation of this compound as a potential antileishmanial drug or as a suitable scaffold for lead optimization strategies.
Project description:Treatment failure is multifactorial. Despite the importance of host cell drug transporters and metabolizing enzymes in the accumulation, distribution and metabolism of drugs targeting intracellular pathogens, their impact on the efficacy of antileishmanials is unknown. We examined the contribution of pharmacologically relevant determinants in human macrophages in the antimony-mediated killing of intracellular Leishmania panamensis and its relationship with the outcome of treatment with meglumine antimoniate.Patients with cutaneous leishmaniasis who failed (n = 8) or responded (n =8) to treatment were recruited. Gene expression profiling of pharmacological determinants in primary macrophages was evaluated by quantitative RT-PCR and correlated to the drug-mediated intracellular parasite killing. Functional validation was conducted through short hairpin RNA gene knockdown.Survival of L. panamensis after exposure to antimonials was significantly higher in macrophages from patients who failed treatment. Sixteen macrophage drug-response genes were modulated by infection and exposure to meglumine antimoniate. Correlation analyses of gene expression and intracellular parasite survival revealed the involvement of host cell metallothionein-2A and ABCB6 in the survival of Leishmania during exposure to antimonials. ABCB6 was functionally validated as a transporter of antimonial compounds localized in both the cell and phagolysosomal membranes of macrophages, revealing a novel mechanism of host cell-mediated regulation of intracellular drug exposure and parasite survival within phagocytes.These results provide insight into host cell mechanisms regulating the intracellular exposure of Leishmania to antimonials and variations among individuals that impact parasite survival. Understanding of host cell determinants of intracellular pharmacokinetics/pharmacodynamics opens new avenues to improved drug efficacy for intracellular pathogens.
Project description:As key cells, able to host and kill Leishmania parasites, inflammatory monocytes/macrophages are potential vaccine and therapeutic targets to improve immune responses in Leishmaniasis. Macrophage phenotypes range from M1, which express NO-mediated microbial killing, to M2 macrophages that might help infection. Resistance to Leishmaniasis depends on Leishmania species, mouse strain, and both innate and adaptive immunity. C57BL/6 (B6) mice are resistant and control infection, whereas Leishmania parasites thrive in BALB/c mice, which are susceptible to develop cutaneous lesions in the course of infection with Leishmania major, but not upon infection with Leishmania braziliensis. Here, we investigated whether a deficit in early maturation of inflammatory monocytes into macrophages in BALB/c mice underlies increased susceptibility to L. major versus L. braziliensis parasites. We show that, after infection with L. braziliensis, monocytes are recruited to peritoneum, differentiate into macrophages, and develop an M1 phenotype able to produce proinflammatory cytokines in both B6 and BALB/c mice. Nonetheless, more mature macrophages from B6 mice expressed inducible NO synthase (iNOS) and higher NO production in response to L. braziliensis parasites, whereas BALB/c mice developed macrophages expressing an incomplete M1 phenotype. By contrast, monocytes recruited upon L. major infection gave rise to immature macrophages that failed to induce an M1 response in BALB/c mice. Overall, these results are consistent with the idea that resistance to Leishmania infection correlates with improved maturation of macrophages in a mouse-strain and Leishmania-species dependent manner. All-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) has been proposed as a therapy to differentiate immature myeloid cells into macrophages and help immunity to tumors. To prompt monocyte to macrophage maturation upon L. major infection, we treated B6 and BALB/c mice with ATRA. Unexpectedly, treatment with ATRA reduced proinflammatory cytokines, iNOS expression, and parasite killing by macrophages. Moreover, ATRA promoted an M1 to M2 transition in bone marrow-derived macrophages from both strains. Therefore, ATRA uncouples macrophage maturation and development of M1 phenotype and downmodulates macrophage-mediated immunity to L. major parasites. Cautions should be taken for the therapeutic use of ATRA, by considering direct effects on innate immunity to intracellular pathogens.
Project description:The establishment of Leishmania infection in mammalian hosts and the subsequent manifestation of clinical symptoms require internalization into macrophages, immune evasion and parasite survival and replication. Although many of the genes involved in these processes have been described, the genetic and genomic variability associated to differences in virulence is largely unknown. Here we present the genomic variation of four Leishmania (Viannia) panamensis strains exhibiting different levels of virulence in BALB/c mice and its application to predict novel genes related to virulence. De novo DNA sequencing and assembly of the most virulent strain allowed comparative genomics analysis with sequenced L. (Viannia) panamensis and L. (Viannia) braziliensis strains, and showed important variations at intra and interspecific levels. Moreover, the mutation detection and a CNV search revealed both base and structural genomic variation within the species. Interestingly, we found differences in the copy number and protein diversity of some genes previously related to virulence. Several machine-learning approaches were applied to combine previous knowledge with features derived from genomic variation and predict a curated set of 66 novel genes related to virulence. These genes can be prioritized for validation experiments and could potentially become promising drug and immune targets for the development of novel prophylactic and therapeutic interventions.
Project description:Leishmania (Viannia) organisms are the most prevalent etiologic agents of human cutaneous leishmaniasis in the Americas. Nevertheless, our knowledge of the immunological mechanisms exploited by L. (Viannia) organisms remains limited and the mechanisms underlying disease are not well understood. Here, we report the development of a BALB/c mouse model of L. (V.) panamensis infection that is able to reproduce chronic disease, with persistent infection and clinically evident lesions for over 1 year. The immune response of the mouse resembles that found for L. (V.) panamensis-infected patients with chronic and recurrent lesions, presenting a mixed Th1/Th2 response with the presence of TNF-?, IFN-?, IL-10 and IL-13. Using immunodeficient mice, the critical role for IL-13 and/or IL-4R? in determining susceptibility to chronic infection was evident. With the induction of healing in the immunodeficient mice, increases in IFN-? and IL-17 were found, concomitant with parasite control and elimination. Specifically, increases in CD4(+) (but not CD8(+)) T cells producing IFN-? were observed. These results suggest that IL-13 represents an important target for disease control of L. (V.) panamensis infection. This murine model should be useful to further understand the pathology associated with chronic disease and to develop methods for the treatment and prevention of leishmaniasis caused by L. (Viannia) parasites.
Project description:Leishmaniasis is a chronic disease caused by protozoa of the distinct Leishmania genus transmitted by sandflies of the genus Phlebotomus (old world) and Lutzomyia (new world). Among the molecular factors that contribute to the virulence and pathogenesis of Leishmania are metalloproteases, e.g., glycoprotein 63 (gp63), also known as leishmanolysin or major surface protease (MSP). This protease is a zinc-dependent metalloprotease that is found on the surface of the parasite, abundant in Leishmania promastigote and amastigote. This study describes the prediction of three-dimensional (3D) structures of leishmanolysin (UniProt ID A0A088RJX7) of Leishmania panamensis employing a homology modeling approach. The 3D structure prediction was performed using the SWISS-MODEL web server. The tools PROCHECK, Molprobyty, and Verify3D were used to check the quality of the model, indicating that they are reliable. Best docking configurations were identified applying AutoDock Vina in PyRx 0.8 to obtain a potential antileishmanial activity. Biflavonoids such as lanaroflavone, podocarpusflavone A, amentoflavone, and podocarpusflavone B showed good scores among these molecules. Lanaroflavone appears to be the most suitable compound from binding affinity calculations.
Project description:Chronic tegumentary leishmaniasis is characterized by a scarcity of parasites in lesions and a heightened inflammatory response. Deregulated and hyperactive inflammation contributes to tissue damage and parasite persistence. The mechanisms by which immune cells are recruited to the lesion and their relationship to clinical outcomes remain elusive. We examined the expression levels of chemokines and their receptors in relation to clinical outcome in dermal leishmaniasis caused by Leishmania (Viannia) panamensis. Primary macrophages from healthy donors were infected with L. panamensis strains isolated from self-healing patients (n = 4) and those presenting chronic disease (n = 5). A consistent pattern of upregulation of neutrophil (cxcl1, cxcl2, cxcl5, and cxcl8/il-8) and monocyte (ccl2, ccl7, ccl8, cxcl3, and cxcl10) chemotactic chemokines and ccr1 and ccr5 receptor genes, evaluated by reverse transcription-quantitative PCR (qRT-PCR), was observed upon infection with strains from patients with chronic dermal leishmaniasis; induction of CXCL5 and CCL8 was corroborated at the protein level. No apparent upregulation was elicited in macrophages infected with strains from self-healing patients. Expression levels of ccl8, cxcl2, cxcl3, and cxcl5 in lesion biopsy specimens from patients with chronic cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) were compared to those in biopsy specimens from Montenegro skin tests of individuals with asymptomatic infection. Increased expression levels of cxcl5 (P < 0.05), ccl8, and cxcl3 were corroborated in chronic CL lesions. Our study revealed a dichotomy in macrophage chemokine gene expression elicited by L. panamensis strains from patients with self-healing disease and those presenting chronic disease, consistent with parasite-mediated hyperactivation of the inflammatory response driving chronicity. The predominant upregulation of neutrophil and monocyte chemoattractants indicates novel mechanisms of sustained inflammatory activation and may provide new therapeutic targets against chronic dermal leishmaniasis.
Project description:Leishmania braziliensis and Leishmania panamensis are two species clinically and epidemiologically important, among others because of their relative resistance to first-line drugs (antimonials). The precise mechanism underlying the ability of these species to survive antimony treatment remains unknown. Therefore, elucidating the pathways mediating drug resistance is essential. We herein experimentally selected resistance to trivalent antimony (Sb<sup>III</sup>) in the reference strains of L. braziliensis (MHOM/BR75/M2904) and L. panamensis (MHOM/COL/81L13) and compared whole genome and transcriptome alterations in the culture promastigote stage. The results allowed us to identify differences in somy, copy number variations in some genes related to antimony resistance and large-scale copy number variations (deletions and duplications) in chromosomes with no somy changes. We found mainly in L. braziliensis, a direct relation between the chromosomal/local copy number variation and the gene expression. We identified differentially expressed genes in the resistant lines that are involved in antimony resistance, virulence, and vital biological processes in parasites. The results of this study may be useful for characterizing the genetic mechanisms of these Leishmania species under antimonial pressure, and for clarifying why the parasites are resistant to first-line drug treatments.