Balance of Irgm protein activities determines IFN-gamma-induced host defense.
ABSTRACT The immunity-related GTPases (IRG), also known as p47 GTPases, are a family of proteins that are tightly regulated by IFNs at the transcriptional level and serve as key mediators of IFN-regulated resistance to intracellular bacteria and protozoa. Among the IRG proteins, loss of Irgm1 has the most profound impact on IFN-gamma-induced host resistance at the physiological level. Surprisingly, the losses of host resistance seen in the absence of Irgm1 are sometimes more striking than those seen in the absence of IFN-gamma. In the current work, we address the underlying mechanism. We find that in several contexts, another protein in the IRG family, Irgm3, functions to counter the effects of Irgm1. By creating mice that lack Irgm1 and Irgm3, we show that several phenotypes important to host resistance that are caused by Irgm1 deficiency are reversed by coincident Irgm3 deficiency; these include resistance to Salmonella typhimurium in vivo, the ability to affect IFN-gamma-induced Salmonella killing in isolated macrophages, and the ability to regulate macrophage adhesion and motility in vitro. Other phenotypes that are caused by Irgm1 deficiency, including susceptibility to Toxoplasma gondii and the regulation of GKS IRG protein expression and localization, are not reversed but exacerbated when Irgm3 is also absent. These data suggest that members of the Irgm subfamily within the larger IRG family possess activities that can be opposing or cooperative depending on the context, and it is the balance of these activities that is pivotal in mediating IFN-gamma-regulated host resistance.
Article: The interferon-inducible p47 (IRG) GTPases in vertebrates: loss of the cell autonomous resistance mechanism in the human lineage.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Members of the p47 (immunity-related GTPases (IRG) family) GTPases are essential, interferon-inducible resistance factors in mice that are active against a broad spectrum of important intracellular pathogens. Surprisingly, there are no reports of p47 function in humans. Here we show that the p47 GTPases are represented by 23 genes in the mouse, whereas humans have only a single full-length p47 GTPase and an expressed, truncated presumed pseudo-gene. The human full-length gene is orthologous to an isolated mouse p47 GTPase that carries no interferon-inducible elements in the promoter of either species and is expressed constitutively in the mature testis of both species. Thus, there is no evidence for a p47 GTPase-based resistance system in humans. Dogs have several interferon-inducible p47s, and so the primate lineage that led to humans appears to have lost an ancient function. Multiple p47 GTPases are also present in the zebrafish, but there is only a tandem p47 gene pair in pufferfish. Mice and humans must deploy their immune resources against vacuolar pathogens in radically different ways. This carries significant implications for the use of the mouse as a model of human infectious disease. The absence of the p47 resistance system in humans suggests that possession of this resistance system carries significant costs that, in the primate lineage that led to humans, are not outweighed by the benefits. The origin of the vertebrate p47 system is obscure.Genome biology 02/2005; 6(11):R92. · 6.63 Impact Factor