Cytokine activation leads to acidification and increases maturation of Mycobacterium avium-containing phagosomes in murine macrophages

Department of Molecular Microbiology, Washington University, School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA.
The Journal of Immunology (Impact Factor: 4.92). 03/1998; 160(3):1290-6.
Source: PubMed


Mycobacterium avium (MAC) organisms multiply in phagosomes that have restricted fusigenicity with lysosomes, do not acidify due to a paucity of vacuolar proton-ATPases, yet remain accessible to recycling endosomes. During the course of mycobacterial infections, IFN-gamma-mediated activation of host and bystander macrophages is a key mechanism in the regulation of bacterial growth. Here we demonstrate that in keeping with earlier studies, cytokine activation of host macrophages leads to a decrease in MAC viability, demonstrable by bacterial esterase staining with fluorescein diacetate as well as colony-forming unit counts from infected cells. Analysis of the pH of MAC phagosomes demonstrated that the vacuoles in activated macrophages equilibrate to pH 5.2, in contrast to pH 6.3 in resting phagocytes. Biochemical analysis of MAC phagosomes from both resting and activated macrophages confirmed that the lower intraphagosomal pH correlated with an increased accumulation of proton-ATPases. Furthermore, the lower pH is reflected in the transition of MAC phagosomes to a point no longer accessible to transferrin, a marker of the recycling endosomal system. These alterations parallel the coalescence of bacterial vacuoles from individual bacilli in single vacuoles to communal vacuoles with multiple bacilli. These data demonstrate that bacteriostatic and bactericidal activities of activated macrophages are concomitant with alterations in the physiology of the mycobacterial phagosome.

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    • "IFN-γ and TNF are key cytokines that lead to cell activation and enhanced phagosome–lysosome fusion in mycobacteria-infected macrophages (Schaible et al., 1998; Via et al., 1998). Phagolysosomes are formed upon fusion of phagosomes with intracellular organelles, in particular lysosomes. "
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