[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This article has been accepted for publication and undergone full peer review but has not been through the copyediting, typesetting, pagination and proofreading process, which may lead to differences between this version and the Version of Record. Please cite this article as doi: 10.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The contribution of the innate immune system to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is under intensive investigation. Research in animal models has demonstrated that type I interferons (IFN-Is) protect from IBD. In contrast, studies of patients with IBD have produced conflicting results concerning the therapeutic potential of IFN-Is. Here we present data suggesting that IFN-Is play dual roles as regulators of intestinal inflammation in dextran sodium sulfate (DSS)-treated C57BL/6 mice. Though IFN-Is reduced acute intestinal damage and the abundance of colitis-associated intestinal bacteria caused by treatment with a high dose of DSS, they also inhibited the resolution of inflammation after DSS treatment. IFN-Is played an anti-inflammatory role by suppressing the release of IL-1β from the colon MHC class II+ cells. Consistently, IL-1 receptor blockade reduced the severity of inflammation in IFN-I receptor-deficient mice and myeloid cell-restricted ablation of the IFN-I receptor was detrimental. The pro-inflammatory role of IFN-Is during recovery from DSS treatment was caused by IFN-I-dependent cell apoptosis as well as an increase in chemokine production and infiltrating inflammatory monocytes and neutrophils. Thus, IFN-Is play opposing roles in specific phases of intestinal injury and inflammation, which may be important for guiding treatment strategies in patients.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
European Journal of Immunology 06/2014; · 4.97 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The transcription factor STAT1 is essential for interferon- (IFN) mediated immunity in humans and mice. STAT1 function is tightly regulated and both loss- and gain-of function mutations result in severe immune diseases. The two alternatively spliced isoforms, STAT1α and STAT1β, differ with regard to a C-terminal transactivation domain, which is absent in STAT1β. STAT1β is considered to be transcriptionally inactive and to be a competitive inhibitor of STAT1α. To investigate the functions of the STAT1 isoforms in vivo we generated mice deficient for either STAT1α or STAT1β. As expected, the functions of STAT1α and STAT1β in IFNα/β- and IFNλ-dependent antiviral activity are largely redundant. In contrast to the current dogma, however, we found that STAT1β is transcriptionally active in response to IFNγ. In the absence of STAT1α, STAT1β shows more prolonged IFNγ-induced phosphorylation and promoter binding. Both isoforms mediate protective, IFNγ-dependent immunity against the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes, although with remarkably different efficiencies. Our data shed new light on the potential contribution of the individual STAT1 isoforms to STAT1-dependent immune responses. The knowledge of STAT1β's function will help fine-tune diagnostic approaches and design more specific strategies to interfere with STAT1 activity.
Molecular and cellular biology 04/2014; · 6.06 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Tyrosine kinase 2 (TYK2) has a pivotal role in immunity to infection and tumor surveillance. It is associated with several cytokine receptor chains including type I interferon (IFN) receptor 1 (IFNAR1), interleukin- (IL-) 12 receptor beta 1 (IL-12Rb1) and IL-10R2. We have generated a mouse with a conditional Tyk2 null allele and proved integrity of the conditional Tyk2 locus. TYK2 was successfully removed by the use of ubiquitous and tissue-specific Cre-expressing mouse strains. Myeloid TYK2 was found to critically contribute to the defense against murine cytomegalovirus. Ubiquitous TYK2 ablation severely impaired tumor immunosurveillance, while deletion in myeloid, dendritic or T cells alone showed no effect. The conditional Tyk2 mouse strain will be instrumental to further dissect TYK2 functions in infection, inflammation and cancer.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that gene expression and release of IL-27 may be modulated by Tyk2. Macrophages derived from the peritoneum or bone marrow of C57BL/10SnJ (WT) mice produced abundant amounts of IL-27(p28) following TLR4 activation by LPS. In contrast, production of IL-27(p28), but not EBI3, was reduced by ∼50% in TLR4-activated macrophages derived from mice with genetic deficiency of Tyk2 compared with WT macrophages. Frequencies of IL-27(p28)+F4/80+CD11b+ cells were lower in TLR4-activated macrophages derived from Tyk2-/- mice. Mechanistically, Tyk2-/- resulted in disruption of a type I IFN-dependent mechanism for production of IL-27(p28), which was induced by type I IFNs, and release of IL-27 was defective in macrophages from IFN-β-/- and IFNAR1-/- mice. In contrast, Tyk2 was not required to mediate the effects of IL-27 on target gene expression in CD4(+) T cells. In vivo, we observed that Tyk2-/- mice have improved survival following endotoxic shock or polymicrobial sepsis induced by CLP. Plasma levels of IL-27(p28) during endotoxic shock or polymicrobial sepsis were markedly reduced in Tyk2-/- mice compared with WT mice. Disruption of IL-27 signaling using IL-27RA-/- mice was protective against sepsis-associated mortality. These data suggest that Tyk2 may mediate adverse outcomes of SIRS by promoting the production of IL-27. In conclusion, this report identifies Tyk2 as a prerequisite factor in the molecular networks that are involved in generation of IL-27.
Journal of leukocyte biology 03/2014; · 4.99 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Considerable amount of effort has been undertaken to identify genes that account for myeloid lineage commitment and development. However, currently available non-invasive mouse models utilize myeloid-specific reporters that are significantly expressed in hematopoietic stem cells as well as lymphoid compartments. Here, we describe a myeloid-specific marker that is not shared by any other lineage. We show that lactotransferrin mRNA is expressed by Gr-1+/CD11b+ cells in the bone marrow, as opposed to HSCs or any peripheral cell population. To follow the progeny of lactotransferrin-expressing bone marrow cells, we generated a mouse model in which a reporter gene is irreversibly activated from the lactotransferrin-promoter. We found that lactotransferrin-reporter labels a majority of neutrophils, monocytes, macrophages and distinct subtypes of dendritic cells, while excluding T-, B-, NK-cells, iKDC, pDCs, erythrocytes and eosinophils. Lactotransferrin-reporter- bone marrow cells retain lymphoid, erythroid and long-term repopulating potential, while lactotransferrin-reporter+ bone marrow cells confer only myeloid, but no lymphoid potential. We conclude that lactotransferrin represents a late stage differentiation marker of neutrophils, macrophages and distinct subtypes of dendritic cells.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although alterations in gut microbiota composition during acute colitis have been repeatedly observed, associated functional changes and the recovery from dysbiosis received little attention. In this study, we investigated structure and function of the gut microbiota during acute inflammation and recovery in a dextran sodium sulfate (DSS)-colitis mouse model using metatranscriptomics, bacterial 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing and monitoring of selected host markers. Parallel to an increase of host markers of inflammation during acute colitis, we observed relative abundance shifts and alterations in phylotype composition of the dominant bacterial orders Clostridiales and Bacteroidales, and an increase of the low abundant Enterobacteriales, Deferribacterales, Verrucomicrobiales and Erysipelotrichales. During recovery, the microbiota began to resume, but did not reach its original composition until the end of the experiment. Microbial gene expression was more resilient to disturbance, with pre-perturbation-type transcript profiles appearing quickly after acute colitis. The decrease of Clostridiales during inflammation correlated with a reduction of transcripts related to butyrate formation, suggesting a disturbance in host-microbe signalling and mucosal nutrient provision. The impact of acute inflammation on the Clostridiales was also characterized by a significant downregulation of their flagellin-encoding genes. In contrast, the abundance of members of the Bacteroidales increased along with an increase in transcripts related to mucin degradation. We propose that acute inflammation triggered a selective reaction of the immune system against flagella of commensals and temporarily altered murine microbiota composition and functions relevant for the host. Despite changes in specific interactions, the host-microbiota homeostasis revealed a remarkable ability for recovery.The ISME Journal advance online publication, 9 January 2014; doi:10.1038/ismej.2013.223.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) 1 is a key player in interferon (IFN) signaling, essential in mediating host defense against viruses and other pathogens. STAT1 levels are tightly regulated and loss- or gain-of-function mutations in mice and men lead to severe diseases. We have generated a doxycycline (dox) -inducible, FLAG-tagged Stat1 expression system in mice lacking endogenous STAT1 (i.e. Stat1(ind) mice). We show that STAT1 expression depends on the time and dose of dox treatment in primary cells and a variety of organs isolated from Stat1(ind) mice. In bone marrow-derived macrophages, a fraction of the amount of STAT1 present in WT cells is sufficient for full expression of IFN-induced genes. Dox-induced STAT1 established protection against virus infections in primary cells and mice. The availability of the Stat1(ind) mouse model will enable an examination of the consequences of variable amounts of STAT1. The model will also permit the study of STAT1 dose-dependent and reversible functions as well as of STAT1's contributions to the development, progression and resolution of disease.
PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(1):e86608. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Before they infect red blood cells and cause malaria, Plasmodium parasites undergo an obligate and clinically silent expansion phase in the liver that is supposedly undetected by the host. Here, we demonstrate the engagement of a type I interferon (IFN) response during Plasmodium replication in the liver. We identified Plasmodium RNA as a previously unrecognized pathogen-associated molecular pattern (PAMP) capable of activating a type I IFN response via the cytosolic pattern recognition receptor Mda5. This response, initiated by liver-resident cells through the adaptor molecule for cytosolic RNA sensors, Mavs, and the transcription factors Irf3 and Irf7, is propagated by hepatocytes in an interferon-α/β receptor-dependent manner. This signaling pathway is critical for immune cell-mediated host resistance to liver-stage Plasmodium infection, which we find can be primed with other PAMPs, including hepatitis C virus RNA. Together, our results show that the liver has sensor mechanisms for Plasmodium that mediate a functional antiparasite response driven by type I IFN.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Transcriptional activation of the Nos2 gene encoding inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) during infection or inflammation requires coordinate assembly of an initiation complex by transcription factors NFκB and the type I interferon-activated ISGF3. Here we show that infection of macrophages with the intracellular bacterial pathogen Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) causes binding of BET proteins Brd2, Brd3 and, most prominently, Brd4 to the Nos2 promoter and that a profound reduction of Nos2 expression occurred in the presence of the BET inhibitor JQ1. RNA polymerase activity at the Nos2 gene was regulated through Brd-mediated CTD phosphorylation at serine 5 and the rate of transcriptional re-initiation. Underscoring the critical importance of Brd for the regulation of immune responses, application of JQ1 reduced NO production in mice infected with Lm as well as innate resistance to Lm and influenza virus. In a murine model of inflammatory disease JQ1 treatment increased the colitogenic activity of DSS. The data presented in our study suggest that BET protein inhibition in a clinical setting poses the risk of altering the innate immune response to infectious or inflammatory challenge.
Molecular and cellular biology 11/2013; · 6.06 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Janus kinases (Jak) play essential roles in cytokine and growth factor signaling. Conventional gene targeting of Jak2, creating a null allele, leads to a block in definitive erythropoiesis as a result of failing signal transduction at the homomeric Erythropoietin receptor (EpoR) and at the heteromeric Interferon γ receptor (IFNGR). To investigate the in vivo relevance of the activation loop of Jak2, a Jak2-YY1007/1008FF knock-in mutation was introduced into the germline of mice. The phenotype of the Jak2(FF/FF) mouse line reveals that tyrosine residues 1007/1008 are absolutely essential for kinase function and signal transduction at the homomeric EpoR. Detailed studies using the Jak2 activation loop mutant uncover an essential scaffolding function of Jak2 within the IFNGR receptor complex and reveal that Jak1 can mediate a semi-redundant function for IFNGR signal transduction. These studies are highly important for the molecular understanding of cytokine and growth factor signaling and provide new insights for future strategies in the design of pharmacological blockers of Jak2.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The transcription factor STAT1 is important in natural killer (NK) cells, which provide immediate defense against tumor and virally infected cells. We show that mutation of a single phosphorylation site (Stat1-S727A) enhances NK cell cytotoxicity against a range of tumor cells, accompanied by increased expression of perforin and granzyme B. Stat1-S727A mice display significantly delayed disease onset in NK cell-surveilled tumor models including melanoma, leukemia, and metastasizing breast cancer. Constitutive phosphorylation of S727 depends on cyclin-dependent kinase 8 (CDK8). Inhibition of CDK8-mediated STAT1-S727 phosphorylation may thus represent a therapeutic strategy for stimulating NK cell-mediated tumor surveillance.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Macrophages play a key role in responding to pathogens and initiate an inflammatory response to combat microbe multiplication. Deactivation of macrophages facilitates resolution of the inflammatory response. Deactivated macrophages are characterized by an immunosuppressive phenotype, but the lack of unique markers that can reliably identify these cells explains the poorly defined biological role of this macrophage subset. We identified lipocalin 2 (LCN2) as both a marker of deactivated macrophages and a macrophage deactivator. We show that LCN2 attenuated the early inflammatory response and impaired bacterial clearance, leading to impaired survival of mice suffering from pneumococcal pneumonia. LCN2 induced IL-10 formation by macrophages, skewing macrophage polarization in a STAT3-dependent manner. Pulmonary LCN2 levels were tremendously elevated during bacterial pneumonia in humans, and high LCN2 levels were indicative of a detrimental outcome from pneumonia with Gram-positive bacteria. Our data emphasize the importance of macrophage deactivation for the outcome of pneumococcal infections and highlight the role of LCN2 and IL-10 as determinants of macrophage performance in the respiratory tract.
The Journal of clinical investigation 07/2013; · 15.39 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Gene regulation by cytokine-activated transcription factors of the signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) family requires serine phosphorylation within the transactivation domain (TAD). STAT1 and STAT3 TAD phosphorylation occurs upon promoter binding by an unknown kinase. Here, we show that the cyclin-dependent kinase 8 (CDK8) module of the Mediator complex phosphorylated regulatory sites within the TADs of STAT1, STAT3, and STAT5, including S727 within the STAT1 TAD in the interferon (IFN) signaling pathway. We also observed a CDK8 requirement for IFN-γ-inducible antiviral responses. Microarray analyses revealed that CDK8-mediated STAT1 phosphorylation positively or negatively regulated over 40% of IFN-γ-responsive genes, and RNA polymerase II occupancy correlated with gene expression changes. This divergent regulation occurred despite similar CDK8 occupancy at both S727 phosphorylation-dependent and -independent genes. These data identify CDK8 as a key regulator of STAT1 and antiviral responses and suggest a general role for CDK8 in STAT-mediated transcription. As such, CDK8 represents a promising target for therapeutic manipulation of cytokine responses.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The MAPK p38α senses environmental stressors and orchestrates inflammatory and immunomodulatory reactions. However, the molecular mechanism how p38α controls immunomodulatory responses in myeloid cells remains elusive. We found that in monocytes and macrophages, p38α activated the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway in vitro and in vivo. p38α signaling in myeloid immune cells promoted IL-10 but inhibited IL-12 expression via mTOR and blocked the differentiation of proinflammatory CD4(+) Th1 cells. Cellular stress induced p38α-mediated mTOR activation that was independent of PI3K but dependent on the MAPK-activated protein kinase 2 and on the inhibition of tuberous sclerosis 1 and 2, a negative regulatory complex of mTOR signaling. Remarkably, p38α and PI3K concurrently modulated mTOR to balance IL-12 and IL-10 expression. Our data link p38α to mTOR signaling in myeloid immune cells that is decisive for tuning the immune response in dependence on the environmental milieu.
The Journal of Immunology 01/2013; · 5.52 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this study we investigated the role of Bruton's tyrosine kinase (Btk) in the immune response to the Gram-positive intracellular bacterium Listeria monocytogenes (Lm). In response to Lm infection, Btk was activated in bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMMs) and Btk (-/-) BMMs showed enhanced TNF-α, IL-6 and IL-12p40 secretion, while type I interferons were produced at levels similar to wild-type (wt) BMMs. Although Btk-deficient BMMs displayed reduced phagocytosis of E. coli fragments, there was no difference between wt and Btk (-/-) BMMs in the uptake of Lm upon infection. Moreover, there was no difference in the response to heat-killed Lm between wt and Btk (-/-) BMMs, suggesting a role for Btk in signaling pathways that are induced by intracellular Lm. Finally, Btk (-/-) mice displayed enhanced resistance and an increased mean survival time upon Lm infection in comparison to wt mice. This correlated with elevated IFN-γ and IL-12p70 serum levels in Btk (-/-) mice at day 1 after infection. Taken together, our data suggest an important regulatory role for Btk in macrophages during Lm infection.
PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(3):e60476. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Interferons (IFN) are subdivided into type I IFN (IFN-I, here synonymous with IFN-α/β), type II (IFN-γ) and type III IFN (IFN-III/IFN-λ) that reprogram nuclear gene expression through STATs 1 and 2 by forming STAT1 dimers (mainly IFN-γ) or the ISGF3 complex, a STAT1-STAT2-IRF9 heterotrimer (IFN-I and IFN-III). Dominant IFN activities in the immune system are to protect cells from viral replication and to activate macrophages for enhanced effector function. However, the impact of IFN and their STATs on the immune system stretches far beyond these activities and includes the control of inflammation. The goal of this review is to give an overview of the different facets of the inflammatory process that show regulatory input by IFN/STAT.