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Article Reference Haemophilus influenzae resides in tonsils and uses immunoglobulin D binding as an evasion strategy.
Haemophilus influenzae (Hi) causes respiratory tract infections and is also considered to be a commensal, particularly in preschool children. Tonsils from patients (n = 617) undergoing tonsillectomy due to chronic infection or hypertrophy were examined. We found that 51% of tonsils were positive for Hi, and in 95% of cases analyzed in detail (n = 39) Hi resided intracellularly in the core tonsillar tissue. Patients harbored several intracellular unique strains and the majority were nontypeable Hi (NTHi). Interestingly, the isolated NTHi bound soluble immunoglobulin (Ig) D at the constant heavy chain domain 1 as revealed by recombinant IgD/IgG chimeras. NTHi also interacted with B lymphocytes via the IgD B-cell receptor, resulting in internalization of bacteria, T-cell-independent activation via Toll-like receptor 9, and differentiation into non-NTHi-specific IgM-producing cells. Taken together, IgD-binding NTHi leads to an unspecific immune response and may support the bacteria to circumvent the host defense.
Article Reference The host immune response contributes to Haemophilus influenzae virulence.
There is compelling evidence that infections with non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi) are associated with exacerbations in COPD patients. However, NTHi has also been isolated frequently during clinically stable disease. In this study we tested the hypothesis that genetically distinct NTHi isolates obtained from COPD patients differ in virulence which could account for dissimilarities in the final outcome of an infection (stable vs. exacerbation).
Article Reference Use of the Chinchilla model to evaluate the vaccinogenic potential of the Moraxella catarrhalis filamentous hemagglutinin-like proteins MhaB1 and MhaB2.
Moraxella catarrhalis causes significant health problems, including 15-20% of otitis media cases in children and 10% of respiratory infections in adults with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The lack of an efficacious vaccine, the rapid emergence of antibiotic resistance in clinical isolates, and high carriage rates reported in children are cause for concern. In addition, the effectiveness of conjugate vaccines at reducing the incidence of otitis media caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae and nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae suggest that M. catarrhalis infections may become even more prevalent. Hence, M. catarrhalis is an important and emerging cause of infectious disease for which the development of a vaccine is highly desirable. Studying the pathogenesis of M. catarrhalis and the testing of vaccine candidates have both been hindered by the lack of an animal model that mimics human colonization and infection. To address this, we intranasally infected chinchilla with M. catarrhalis to investigate colonization and examine the efficacy of a protein-based vaccine. The data reveal that infected chinchillas produce antibodies against antigens known to be major targets of the immune response in humans, thus establishing immune parallels between chinchillas and humans during M. catarrhalis infection. Our data also demonstrate that a mutant lacking expression of the adherence proteins MhaB1 and MhaB2 is impaired in its ability to colonize the chinchilla nasopharynx, and that immunization with a polypeptide shared by MhaB1 and MhaB2 elicits antibodies interfering with colonization. These findings underscore the importance of adherence proteins in colonization and emphasize the relevance of the chinchilla model to study M. catarrhalis-host interactions.
Article Reference Therapeutic potential of adenovirus-mediated delivery of β-defensin 2 for experimental otitis media.
Otitis media (OM), one of the most prevalent diseases in young children, is clinically important owing to its high incidence in children and its potential impact on language development and motor coordination. OM is the most common reason for the prescription of antibiotics (accounting for 25% of prescriptions) due to its extremely high incidence. A recent increase in antibiotic resistance among OM pathogens is emerging as a major public health concern globally, which led us to consider non-antibiotic approaches for the management of OM. In this study, we evaluated gene transfer of an antimicrobial peptide, human β-defensin 2 (DEFB4), using an adenoviral vector (Ad5 with deletions of E1/E3/E4) as a potential therapeutic approach. We demonstrated that the transduction of human β-defensin 2 induces the production of human β-defensin 2 and suppresses non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi) adhesion to human middle ear epithelial cells. Moreover, intratympanic inoculation of Ad-DEFB4 was found to attenuate NTHi-induced middle ear effusions without eliciting a significant immune response. Most importantly, intratympanic inoculation of Ad-DEFB4 appeared to significantly augment clearance of NTHi from middle ear cavity. Collectively, our results suggest that intratympanic gene delivery of antimicrobial molecules may serve as an alternative/adjuvant approach for the management of OM.
Article Reference TBX21 participates in innate immune response by regulating Toll-like receptor 2 expression in Streptococcus pneumoniae infections.
Nasopharyngeal carriage of Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus) plays an important role in the development of invasive diseases, and is also critically involved in setting up respiratory bacterial and viral infections. We previously reported that pneumococcus, one of the commonly carried bacteria in the nasopharynx, regulates non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae-induced inflammation by upregulating the expression of Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2). However, the underlying molecular mechanisms by which TLR2 expression is regulated during pneumococcal infections have not yet been well characterized. TBX21 is an important transcription factor of adaptive immunity, but there is an increasing body of evidence pointing to a role in regulating innate immunity. The expression of TBX21 was reported in epithelial cells, but the expression and role of TBX21 in respiratory epithelium, especially for regulating TLR2, has not yet been studied. In this study, we found that pneumococcus upregulates TBX21 expression in the respiratory epithelium. The effect of pneumococcus on TBX21 expression was dependent on its cytoplasmic toxin, pneumolysin. In addition, epithelial TBX21 expression was not regulated by the gram-negative bacterium non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae, peptidoglycan or endotoxin. Deficiency of TBX21 in mice or knocking down TBX21 in epithelial cells suppressed pneumococcus-induced TLR2 expression, but not that of TLR4 or TLR9. These results indicate that the adaptive immune regulator TBX21 participates in regulating innate immune responses, through regulation of TLR2 expression during pneumococcal infections.
Article Reference Divergent mucosal and systemic responses in children in response to acute otitis media.
Acute otitis media (AOM), induced by respiratory bacteria, is a significant cause of children seeking medical attention worldwide. Some children are highly prone to AOMs, suffering three to four recurrent infections per year (prone). We previously determined that this population of children could have diminished anti-bacterial immune responses in peripheral blood that could fail to limit bacterial colonization in the nasopharynx (NP). Here, we examined local NP and middle ear (ME) responses and compared them to peripheral blood to examine whether the mucosa responses were similar to the peripheral blood responses. Moreover, we examined differences in effector cytokine responses between these two populations in the NP, ME and blood compartments at the onset of an AOM caused by either Streptococcus pneumoniae or non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae. We found that plasma effector cytokines patterned antigen-recall responses of CD4 T cells, with lower responses detected in prone children. ME cytokine levels did not mirror blood, but were more similar to the NP. Interferon (IFN)-γ and interleukin (IL)-17 in the NP were similar in prone and non-prone children, while IL-2 production was higher in prone children. The immune responses diverged in the mucosal and blood compartments at the onset of a bacterial ME infection, thus highlighting differences between local and systemic immune responses that could co-ordinate anti-bacterial immune responses in young children.
Article Reference Phase variation and host immunity against high molecular weight (HMW) adhesins shape population dynamics of nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae within human hosts.
Nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi) is a bacterium that resides within the human pharynx. Because NTHi is human-restricted, its long-term survival is dependent upon its ability to successfully colonize new hosts. Adherence to host epithelium, mediated by bacterial adhesins, is one of the first steps in NTHi colonization. NTHi express several adhesins, including the high molecular weight (HMW) adhesins that mediate attachment to the respiratory epithelium where they interact with the host immune system to elicit a strong humoral response. hmwA, which encodes the HMW adhesin, undergoes phase variation mediated by 7-base pair tandem repeats located within its promoter region. Repeat number affects both hmwA transcription and HMW-adhesin production such that as the number of repeats increases, adhesin production decreases. Cells expressing large amounts of HMW adhesins may be critical for the establishment and maintenance of NTHi colonization, but they might also incur greater fitness costs when faced with an adhesin-specific antibody-mediated immune response. We hypothesized that the occurrence of large deletion events within the hmwA repeat region allows NTHi cells to maintain adherence in the presence of antibody-mediated immunity. To study this, we developed a mathematical model, incorporating hmwA phase variation and antibody-mediated immunity, to explore the trade-off between bacterial adherence and immune evasion. The model predicts that antibody levels and avidity, catastrophic loss rates, and population carrying capacity all significantly affected numbers of adherent NTHi cells within a host. These results suggest that the occurrence of large, yet rare, deletion events allows for stable maintenance of a small population of adherent cells in spite of HMW adhesin specific antibody-mediated immunity. These adherent subpopulations may be important for sustaining colonization and/or maintaining transmission.
HinMax 2011
HinMax is a 3-yearly conference dedicated to promoting the latest scientific research and technological breakthroughs associated with the respiratory bacterial pathogens Haemophilus influenzae and Moraxella catarrhalis. For further information please contact
Immune Response
Article Reference Gene set enrichment analysis identifies key innate immune pathways in primary graft dysfunction after lung transplantation.
We hypothesized alterations in gene expression could identify important pathways involved in transplant lung injury. Broncho alveolar lavage fluid (BALF) was sampled from donors prior to procurement and in recipients within an hour of reperfusion as part of the NIAID Clinical Trials in Organ Transplantation Study. Twenty-three patients with Grade 3 primary graft dysfunction (PGD) were frequency matched with controls based on donor age and recipient diagnosis. RNA was analyzed using the Human Gene 1.0 ST array. Normalized mRNA expression was transformed and differences between donor and postreperfusion values were ranked then tested using Gene Set Enrichment Analysis. Three-hundred sixty-two gene sets were upregulated, with eight meeting significance (familywise-error rate, FWER p-value <0.05), including the NOD-like receptor inflammasome (NLR; p < 0.001), toll-like receptors (TLR; p < 0.001), IL-1 receptor (p = 0.001), myeloid differentiation primary response gene 88 (p = 0.001), NFkB activation by nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (p = 0.001), TLR4 (p = 0.008) and TLR 9 (p = 0.018). The top five ranked individual transcripts from these pathways based on rank metric score are predominantly present in the NLR and TLR pathways, including IL1β (1.162), NLRP3 (1.135), IL1α (0.952), IL6 (0.931) and CCL4 (0.842). Gene set enrichment analyses implicate inflammasome-mediated and innate immune signaling pathways as key mediators of the development of PGD in lung transplant patients.
Article Reference Diversion of the host humoral response: a novel virulence mechanism of Haemophilus influenzae mediated via outer membrane vesicles.
The respiratory tract pathogen Haemophilus influenzae frequently causes infections in humans. In parallel with all Gram-negative bacteria, H. influenzae has the capacity to release OMV. The production of these nanoparticles is an intriguing and partly unexplored phenomenon in pathogenesis. Here, we investigated how purified human peripheral blood B lymphocytes respond to OMV derived from unencapsulated, i.e., NTHi and the nonpathogenic Haemophilus parainfluenzae. We found that H. influenzae OMV directly interacted with the IgD BCR, as revealed by anti-IgD pAb and flow cytometry. Importantly, H. influenzae OMV-induced cellular activation via IgD BCR cross-linking and TLR9 resulted in a significant proliferative response. OMV isolated from the related species H. parainfluenzae did not, however, interact with B cells excluding that the effect by H. influenzae OMV was linked to common membrane components, such as the LOS. We also observed an up-regulation of the cell surface molecules CD69 and CD86, and an increased IgM and IgG secretion by B cells incubated with H. influenzae OMV. The Igs produced did not recognize H. influenzae, suggesting a polyclonal B cell activation. Interestingly, the density of the cell surface receptor TACI was increased in the presence of OMV that sensitized further the B cells to BAFF, resulting in an enhanced IgG class-switch. In conclusion, the ability of NTHi OMV to activate B cells in a T cell-independent manner may divert the adaptive humoral immune response that consequently promotes bacterial survival within the human host.
Article Reference Effects of cigarette smoke on TLR activation of COPD macrophages.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is characterized by an abnormal innate immune response. We have investigated the changes in the innate immune response of COPD alveolar macrophages exposed to both cigarette smoke and Toll-like Receptor (TLR) stimulation.