Pathogenic, but Not Nonpathogenic, spp. Evade Inflammasome-Dependent IL-1 Responses To Establish an Intracytosolic Replication Niche.
AuthorVoss, Oliver H
Rivera Díaz, Natalia
Rahman, M Sayeedur
Azad, Abdu F
PublisherAmerican Society for Microbiology
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractRickettsia species (spp.) are strict obligate intracellular bacteria, some of which are pathogenic in their mammalian host, including humans. One critical feature of these stealthy group of pathogens is their ability to manipulate hostile cytosolic environments to their benefits. Although our understanding of Rickettsia cell biology and pathogenesis is evolving, the mechanisms by which pathogenic Rickettsia spp. evade host innate immune detection remain elusive. Here, we show that disease severity in wild-type (WT) C57BL/6J mice infected with Rickettsia typhi (the etiologic agent of murine typhus) and Rickettsia rickettsii (the etiologic agent of Rocky Mountain spotted fever), but not with the nonpathogenic species Rickettsia montanensis, correlated with levels of bacterial burden as detected in the spleens of mice, as well as the serum concentrations of proinflammatory cytokine interleukin-1α (IL-1α) and, to a lesser extent, IL-1β. Antibody-mediated neutralization of IL-1α confirmed a key role in controlling mortality rates and bacterial burdens of rickettsia-infected WT mice. As macrophages are a primary source of both IL-1α and IL-1β cytokines, we determined the mechanism of the antirickettsial activities using bone marrow-derived macrophages. We found that pathogenic R. typhi and R. rickettsii, but not nonpathogenic R. montanensis, eluded pro-IL-1α induction and benefited predominantly from the reduced IL-1α secretion, via a caspase-11-gasdermin D (Gsdmd)-dependent pathway, to facilitate intracytosolic replication. Adoptive transfer experiments identified that IL-1α secretion by macrophages was critical for controlling rickettsiosis in WT mice. In sum, we identified a previously unappreciated pathway by which pathogenic, unlike nonpathogenic, rickettsiae preferentially target the caspase-11-Gsdmd-IL-1α signaling axis in macrophages, thus supporting their replication within the host. IMPORTANCE Currently, no vaccines are available to prevent rickettsioses, while vector-borne rickettsial infections in humans are on the rise globally. In fact, the insufficient understanding of how pathogenic Rickettsia species circumvent host immune defense mechanisms has significantly hindered the development of more effective therapeutics. Here, we identified a previously unappreciated role for the caspase-11-Gsdmd-IL-1α signaling axis in limiting the replication of pathogenic R. rickettsia and R. typhi species in murine macrophages and wild-type (WT) C57BL/6J mice. Adoptive transfer studies further identified IL-1α-secreting macrophages as critical mediators in controlling rickettsial infection in WT mice. Collectively, these findings provide insight into the potential mechanism of how pathogenic, but not nonpathogenic, Rickettsia spp. benefit from a reduction in the caspase-11-Gsdmd-mediated release of IL-1α to support host colonization.
R. rickettsii Sheila Smith
Identifier to cite or link to this itemhttp://hdl.handle.net/10713/18017
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