The virulence antigen (V-antigen, LcrV) of Yersinia pestis, the causative agent of bubonic plague, is an established protective antigen known to regulate, target, and mediate type III translocation of cytotoxic yersiniae outer proteins termed Yops; LcrV also prompts TLR2-dependent upregulation of anti-inflammatory IL-10. In this study, we determined the parameters of specific interaction of LcrV with TLR2 expressed on human transfected HEK293 cells (TLR2+/CD14-), VTEC2.HS cells (TLR2+/CD14-), primary monocytes (TLR2+/CD14+), and THP-1 cells (TLR2+/CD14+). The IRRL314-317 motif of the extracellular domain of human and mouse TLR2 accounted for high-affinity binding of LcrV. The CD14 co-receptor did not influence this interaction. LcrV did not bind to human U937 (TLR2-/CD14-) and alveolar macrophages (TLR2-/CD14+) in the absence of receptor-bound human IFN-γ or a synthetic C-terminal fragment (hIFN-γ132-143). The latter, but not mouse IFN-γ (or synthetic control peptides), shared a GRRA138-141 site necessary for high-affinity specific binding. LcrV of Y. pestis shares the N-terminal LEEL32-35 binding site of Yersinia enterocolitica and also has an exposed internal DEEI203-206 binding site. Comparison of binding constants and consideration of steric restrictions indicate that binding is not cooperative and only the internal site binds LcrV to target cells. Both the LEEL32-35 and DEEI203-206 binding sites are removed by five amino acids from DKN residues associated with biological activity of bound LcrV. LcrV of Y. pestis promoted both TLR2/CD14-dependent and TLR2/CD14-independent amplification of IL-10 and concomitant downregulation of TNF-α in human target cells. The ability of LcrV to utilize human IFN-γ (a major inflammatory effector of innate immunity) to minimize inflammation is insidious and may account in part for the severe symptoms of plague in man.
Research Containing: Antigen
Spaceflight impairs antigen-specific tolerance induction in vivo and increases inflammatory cytokines
The health risks of a dysregulated immune response during spaceflight are important to understand as plans emerge for humans to embark on long-term space travel to Mars. In this first-of-its-kind study, we used adoptive transfer of T-cell receptor transgenic OT-II CD4 T cells to track an in vivo antigen-specific immune response that was induced during the course of spaceflight. Experimental mice destined for spaceflight and mice that remained on the ground received transferred OT-II cells and cognate peptide stimulation with ovalbumin (OVA) 323-339 plus the inflammatory adjuvant, monophosphoryl lipid A. Control mice in both flight and ground cohorts received monophosphoryl lipid A alone without additional OVA stimulation. Numbers of OT-II cells in flight mice treated with OVA were significantly increased by 2-fold compared with ground mice treated with OVA, suggesting that tolerance induction was impaired by spaceflight. Production of proinflammatory cytokines were significantly increased in flight compared with ground mice, including a 5-fold increase in IFN-gamma and a 10-fold increase in IL-17. This study is the first to show that immune tolerance may be impaired in spaceflight, leading to excessive inflammatory responses.