[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Microsporidia are obligate intracellular parasites that are ubiquitous in nature and have been recognized as causing an important emerging disease among immunocompromised individuals. Limited knowledge exists about the immune response against these organisms, and virtually nothing is known about the receptors involved in host recognition. Toll-like receptors (TLR) are pattern recognition receptors that bind to specific molecules found on pathogens and signal a variety of inflammatory responses. In this study, we show that both Encephalitozoon cuniculi and Encephalitozoon intestinalis are preferentially recognized by TLR2 and not by TLR4 in primary human macrophages. This is the first demonstration of host receptor recognition of any microsporidian species. TLR2 ligation is known to activate NF-kappaB, resulting in inflammatory cytokines, such as tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) and interleukin-8 (IL-8). We found that the infection of primary human macrophages leads to the nuclear translocation of NF-kappaB in as early as 1 h and the subsequent production of TNF-alpha and IL-8. To verify the direct role of TLR2 parasite recognition in the production of these cytokines, the receptor was knocked down in primary human macrophages using small interfering RNA. This knockdown resulted in decreases in both the nuclear translocation of NF-kappaB and the levels of TNF-alpha and IL-8 after challenge with spores. Taken together, these experiments directly link the initial inflammatory response induced by Encephalitozoon spp. to TLR2 stimulation in human macrophages.
Infection and immunity 09/2008; 76(10):4737-44. DOI:10.1128/IAI.00733-08 · 3.73 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Microsporidia are obligate intracellular, eukaryotic parasites that are known to infect a variety of invertebrate and vertebrate species and have been reported to include a broad range of host specificities for various cell types. Although it is clear that some species of microsporidia have the ability to disseminate, causing multiorgan infections, it is not understood how dissemination occurs. One hypothesis suggests that mononuclear phagocytes engulf the pathogen and migrate to various organs while the parasite persists and proliferates. This implies that microsporidia have developed methods by which to escape intracellular degradation and can, instead, use the host as a source of nourishment and a vehicle for dissemination. In our study, we investigated the infection kinetics of 2 Encephalitozoon spp. known to cause disseminated disease in humans. Using fluorescence and scanning electron microscopy, it was determined that spore adherence to the host was rapid (3-6 hr), as was the uptake and organization of internal parasitophorous vacuoles (24 hr). Furthermore, replication was shown to occur within macrophages at 72 hr, as measured by the bromodeoxyuridine proliferation assay, and the production of mature spores occurred in host cells at 120 hr. Parasitic replication could be reduced by pretreatment of macrophages with interferon-gamma and bacterial lipopolysaccharide.
Journal of Parasitology 03/2008; 94(1):169-75. DOI:10.1645/GE-1303.1 · 1.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Microsporidians are a group of emerging pathogens typically associated with chronic diarrhea in immunocompromised individuals. The number of reports of infections with these organisms and the disseminated pathology is growing as diagnostic tools become more readily available. However, little is known about the innate immune response induced by and generated against these parasites. Using a coculture chemotaxis system, primary human macrophages were infected with Encephalitozoon cuniculi or Encephalitozoon intestinalis, and the recruitment of naïve monocytes was monitored. Encephalitozoon spp. induced an average threefold increase in migration of naïve cells 48 h postinfection, which corresponded to optimal infection of monocyte-derived-macrophages. A limited microarray analysis of infected macrophages revealed several chemokines involved in the inflammatory responses whose expression was upregulated, including CCL1, CCL2, CCL3, CCL4, CCL7, CCL15, CCL20, CXCL1, CXCL2, CXCL3, CXCL5, and CXCL8. The levels of 6 of 11 chemokines also present in the microarray were confirmed to be elevated by protein profiling. Kinetic studies confirmed that secreted CCL2, CCL3, and CCL4 were expressed as early as 6 h postinfection, with peak expression at 12 to 24 h and expression remaining until 48 h postinfection. Neutralization of these chemokines, specifically CCL4, significantly reduced the number of migrating cells in vitro, indicating their role in the induction of monocyte migration. This mechanism of recruitment not only supports the evidence that in vivo cellular infiltration occurs but also provides new hosts for the parasites, which escape macrophages by rupturing the host cell. To our knowledge, this is the first documentation that chemokine production is induced by microsporidian infections in human macrophages.
Infection and Immunity 05/2007; 75(4):1619-25. DOI:10.1128/IAI.01535-06 · 3.73 Impact Factor