Mycolactone suppresses T cell responsiveness by altering both early signaling and posttranslational events.

Unité Postulante Pathogénomique Mycobactérienne Intégrée, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France.
The Journal of Immunology (Impact Factor: 5.36). 02/2010; 184(3):1436-44. DOI: 10.4049/jimmunol.0902854
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Mycolactone is a diffusible lipid toxin produced by Mycobacterium ulcerans, the causative agent of a necrotizing skin disease referred to as Buruli ulcer. Intriguingly, patients with progressive lesions display a systemic suppression of Th1 responses that resolves on surgical excision of infected tissues. In this study, we examined the effects of mycolactone on the functional biology of T cells and identified two mechanisms by which mycolactone suppresses cell responsiveness to antigenic stimulation. At noncytotoxic concentrations, mycolactone blocked the activation-induced production of cytokines by a posttranscriptional, mammalian target of rapamycin, and cellular stress-independent mechanism. In addition, mycolactone triggered the lipid-raft association and activation of the Src-family kinase, Lck. Mycolactone-mediated hyperactivation of Lck resulted in the depletion of intracellular calcium stores and downregulation of the TCR, leading to impaired T cell responsiveness to stimulation. These biochemical alterations were not observed when T cells were exposed to other bacterial lipids, or to structurally related immunosuppressors. Mycolactone thus constitutes a novel type of T cell immunosuppressive agent, the potent activity of which may explain the defective cellular responses in Buruli ulcer patients.

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    ABSTRACT: Infection with Mycobacterium ulcerans is characterised by tissue necrosis and immunosuppression due to mycolactone, the necessary and sufficient virulence factor for Buruli ulcer disease pathology. Many of its effects are known to involve down-regulation of specific proteins implicated in important cellular processes, such as immune responses and cell adhesion. We have previously shown mycolactone completely blocks the production of LPS-dependent proinflammatory mediators post-transcriptionally. Using polysome profiling we now demonstrate conclusively that mycolactone does not prevent translation of TNF, IL-6 and Cox-2 mRNAs in macrophages. Instead, it inhibits the production of these, along with nearly all other (induced and constitutive) proteins that transit through the ER. This is due to a blockade of protein translocation and subsequent degradation of aberrantly located protein. Several lines of evidence support this transformative explanation of mycolactone function. First, cellular TNF and Cox-2 can be once more detected if the action of the 26S proteasome is inhibited concurrently. Second, restored protein is found in the cytosol, indicating an inability to translocate. Third, in vitro translation assays show mycolactone prevents the translocation of TNF and other proteins into the ER. This is specific as the insertion of tail-anchored proteins into the ER is unaffected showing that the ER remains structurally intact. Fourth, metabolic labelling reveals a near-complete loss of glycosylated and secreted proteins from treated cells, whereas cytosolic proteins are unaffected. Notably, the profound lack of glycosylated and secreted protein production is apparent in a range of different disease-relevant cell types. These studies provide a new mechanism underlying mycolactone's observed pathological activities both in vitro and in vivo. Mycolactone-dependent inhibition of protein translocation into the ER not only explains the deficit of innate cytokines, but also the loss of membrane receptors, adhesion molecules and T-cell cytokines that drive the aetiology of Buruli ulcer.
    PLoS Pathogens 04/2014; 10(4):e1004061. · 8.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Buruli ulcer is a skin disease caused by Mycobacterium ulcerans that is spreading in tropical countries, with major public health and economic implications in West Africa. Multi-analyte profiling of serum proteins in patients and endemic controls revealed that Buruli ulcer disease down-regulates the circulating levels of a large array of inflammatory mediators, without impacting on the leukocyte composition of peripheral blood. Notably, several proteins contributing to acute phase reaction, lipid metabolism, coagulation and tissue remodelling were also impacted. Their down-regulation was selective and persisted after the elimination of bacteria with antibiotic therapy. It involved proteins with various functions and origins, suggesting that M. ulcerans infection causes global and chronic defects in the host's protein metabolism. Accordingly, patients had reduced levels of total serum proteins and blood urea, in the absence of signs of malnutrition, or functional failure of liver or kidney. Interestingly, slow healers had deeper metabolic and coagulation defects at the start of antibiotic therapy. In addition to providing novel insight into Buruli ulcer pathogenesis, our study therefore identifies a unique proteomic signature for this disease.
    PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 04/2014; 8(4):e2786. · 4.49 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mycolactone is a complex macrolide toxin produced by Mycobacterium ulcerans, the causative agent of skin lesions called Buruli ulcers. Mycolactone-mediated activation of Neural (N)- Wiskott Aldrich Syndrome Proteins (WASP) induces defects in cell adhesion underpinning cytotoxicity and disease pathogenesis. We describe the chemical synthesis of 23 novel mycolactone analogues that differ in structure and modular assembly of the lactone core with its northern and southern polyketide side chains. The lactone core linked to southern chain was the minimal structure binding N-WASP and hematopoietic homolog WASP, where the number and configuration of hydroxyl groups on the acyl-side chain impacted on the degree of binding. A fluorescent derivative of this compound showed time-dependent accumulation in target cells. Furthermore, this simplified version of mycolactone mimicked the natural toxin for activation of WASP in vitro, and induced comparable alterations of epithelial cell adhesion. Therefore, it constitutes a structural and functional surrogate of mycolactone for WASP/N-WASP-dependent effects.
    Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 08/2014; · 5.48 Impact Factor

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