Streptococcus pneumoniae (or pneumococcus) is a highly prevalent human pathogen. Toll-like receptors (TLRs) function as immune sensors that can trigger host defenses against this bacterium. Defects in TLR-activated signaling pathways, including deficiency in the adaptor protein myeloid differentiation factor 88 (MyD88), are associated with markedly increased susceptibility to infection. However, the individual MyD88-dependent TLRs predominantly involved in antipneumococcal defenses have not been identified yet. Here we find that triple knockout mice simultaneously lacking TLR7, TLR9, and TLR13, which sense the presence of bacterial DNA (TLR9) and RNA (TLR7 and TLR13) in the phagolysosomes of phagocytic cells, display a phenotype that largely resembles that of MyD88-deficient mice and rapidly succumb to pneumococcal pneumonitis due to defective neutrophil influx into the lung. Accordingly, TLR7/9/13 triple knockout resident alveolar macrophages were largely unable to respond to pneumococci with the production of neutrophil-attracting chemokines and cytokines. Mice with single deficiencies of TLR7, TLR9, or TLR13 showed unaltered ability to control lung infection but were moderately more susceptible to encephalitis, in association with a decreased ability of microglia to mount cytokine responses in vitro Our data point to a dominant, tissue-specific role of nucleic acid-sensing pathways in innate immune recognition of S. pneumoniae and also show that endosomal TLRs are largely capable of compensating for the absence of each other, which seems crucial to prevent pneumococci from escaping immune recognition. These results may be useful to develop novel strategies to treat infections by antibiotic-resistant pneumococci based on stimulation of the innate immune system.IMPORTANCE The pneumococcus is a bacterium that frequently causes infections in the lungs, ears, sinus cavities, and meninges. During these infections, body defenses are triggered by tissue-resident cells that use specialized receptors, such as Toll-like receptors (TLRs), to sense the presence of bacteria. We show here that pneumococci are predominantly detected by TLRs that are located inside intracellular vacuoles, including endosomes, where these receptors can sense the presence of nucleic acids released from ingested bacteria. Mice that simultaneously lacked three of these receptors (specifically, TLR7, TLR9, and TLR13) were extremely susceptible to lung infection and rapidly died after inhalation of pneumococci. Moreover, tissue-resident macrophages from these mice were impaired in their ability to respond to the presence of pneumococci by producing inflammatory mediators capable of recruiting polymorphonuclear leucocytes to infection sites. This information may be useful to develop drugs to treat pneumococcal infections, particularly those caused by antibiotic-resistant strains.

Nucleic Acid-Sensing Toll-Like Receptors Play a Dominant Role in Innate Immune Recognition of Pneumococci

Famà, Agata
Primo
;
Midiri, Angelina;Mancuso, Giuseppe;Biondo, Carmelo;Lentini, Germana;Galbo, Roberta;Giardina, Maria Miriam;De Gaetano, Giuseppe Valerio;Romeo, Letizia;Beninati, Concetta
Ultimo
2020-01-01

Abstract

Streptococcus pneumoniae (or pneumococcus) is a highly prevalent human pathogen. Toll-like receptors (TLRs) function as immune sensors that can trigger host defenses against this bacterium. Defects in TLR-activated signaling pathways, including deficiency in the adaptor protein myeloid differentiation factor 88 (MyD88), are associated with markedly increased susceptibility to infection. However, the individual MyD88-dependent TLRs predominantly involved in antipneumococcal defenses have not been identified yet. Here we find that triple knockout mice simultaneously lacking TLR7, TLR9, and TLR13, which sense the presence of bacterial DNA (TLR9) and RNA (TLR7 and TLR13) in the phagolysosomes of phagocytic cells, display a phenotype that largely resembles that of MyD88-deficient mice and rapidly succumb to pneumococcal pneumonitis due to defective neutrophil influx into the lung. Accordingly, TLR7/9/13 triple knockout resident alveolar macrophages were largely unable to respond to pneumococci with the production of neutrophil-attracting chemokines and cytokines. Mice with single deficiencies of TLR7, TLR9, or TLR13 showed unaltered ability to control lung infection but were moderately more susceptible to encephalitis, in association with a decreased ability of microglia to mount cytokine responses in vitro Our data point to a dominant, tissue-specific role of nucleic acid-sensing pathways in innate immune recognition of S. pneumoniae and also show that endosomal TLRs are largely capable of compensating for the absence of each other, which seems crucial to prevent pneumococci from escaping immune recognition. These results may be useful to develop novel strategies to treat infections by antibiotic-resistant pneumococci based on stimulation of the innate immune system.IMPORTANCE The pneumococcus is a bacterium that frequently causes infections in the lungs, ears, sinus cavities, and meninges. During these infections, body defenses are triggered by tissue-resident cells that use specialized receptors, such as Toll-like receptors (TLRs), to sense the presence of bacteria. We show here that pneumococci are predominantly detected by TLRs that are located inside intracellular vacuoles, including endosomes, where these receptors can sense the presence of nucleic acids released from ingested bacteria. Mice that simultaneously lacked three of these receptors (specifically, TLR7, TLR9, and TLR13) were extremely susceptible to lung infection and rapidly died after inhalation of pneumococci. Moreover, tissue-resident macrophages from these mice were impaired in their ability to respond to the presence of pneumococci by producing inflammatory mediators capable of recruiting polymorphonuclear leucocytes to infection sites. This information may be useful to develop drugs to treat pneumococcal infections, particularly those caused by antibiotic-resistant strains.
2020
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11570/3161636
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