Mycobacterium tuberculosis triggers host type I IFN signaling to regulate IL-1β production in human macrophages.

Immunobiology Section, Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.
The Journal of Immunology (Impact Factor: 5.36). 09/2011; 187(5):2540-7. DOI: 10.4049/jimmunol.1100926
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Mycobacterium tuberculosis is a virulent intracellular pathogen that survives in macrophages even in the presence of an intact adaptive immune response. Type I IFNs have been shown to exacerbate tuberculosis in mice and to be associated with disease progression in infected humans. Nevertheless, the mechanisms by which type I IFNs regulate the host response to M. tuberculosis infection are poorly understood. In this study, we show that M. tuberculosis induces an IFN-related gene expression signature in infected primary human macrophages, which is dependent on host type I IFN signaling as well as the mycobacterial virulence factor, region of difference-1. We further demonstrate that type I IFNs selectively limit the production of IL-1β, a critical mediator of immunity to M. tuberculosis. This regulation occurs at the level of IL1B mRNA expression, rather than caspase-1 activation or autocrine IL-1 amplification and appears to be preferentially used by virulent mycobacteria since avirulent M. bovis bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) fails to trigger significant expression of type I IFNs or release of mature IL-1β protein. The latter property is associated with decreased caspase-1-dependent IL-1β maturation in the BCG-infected macrophages. Interestingly, human monocytes in contrast to macrophages produce comparable levels of IL-1β in response to either M. tuberculosis or BCG. Taken together, these findings demonstrate that virulent and avirulent mycobacteria employ distinct pathways for regulating IL-1β production in human macrophages and reveal that in the case of M. tuberculosis infection the induction of type I IFNs is a major mechanism used for this purpose.

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