Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a major hospital- and community-acquired pathogen, but the mechanisms underlying host-defense to MRSA remain poorly understood. Here, we investigated the role of IL-21 in this process. When administered intra-tracheally into wild-type mice, IL-21 induced granzymes and augmented clearance of pulmonary MRSA but not when neutrophils were depleted or a granzyme B inhibitor was added. Correspondingly, IL-21 induced MRSA killing by human peripheral blood neutrophils. Unexpectedly, however, basal MRSA clearance was enhanced when IL-21 signaling was blocked, both in Il21r KO mice and in wild-type mice injected with IL-21R-Fc fusion-protein. This correlated with increased type I interferon and an IFN-related gene signature, and indeed anti-IFNAR1 treatment diminished MRSA clearance in these animals. Moreover, we found that IFNb induced granzyme B and promoted MRSA clearance in a granzyme B-dependent fashion. These results reveal an interplay between IL-21 and type-I IFN in the innate immune response to MRSA.
- Warren J Leonard
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: Experiments involving animals were performed under protocols (H-0087R4) approved by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Animal Care and Use Committee and followed National Institutes of Health guidelines for use of animals in intramural research.
Human subjects: Blood samples were obtain from normal donors from the NIH Blood Bank under a waiver from the NIH Office of Human Subjects research. Blood samples were also obtained from AD-HIES patients who had given informed consent under an NIH IRB-approved protocol.
- Wayne M Yokoyama, Washington University School of Medicine, United States
This is an open-access article, free of all copyright, and may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, modified, built upon, or otherwise used by anyone for any lawful purpose. The work is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication.
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Bacteria of the genus Shigella cause shigellosis, a severe gastrointestinal disease that is a major cause of diarrhea-associated mortality in humans. Mice are highly resistant to Shigella and the lack of a tractable physiological model of shigellosis has impeded our understanding of this important human disease. Here we propose that the differential susceptibility of mice and humans to Shigella is due to mouse-specific activation of the NAIP–NLRC4 inflammasome. We find that NAIP–NLRC4-deficient mice are highly susceptible to oral Shigella infection and recapitulate the clinical features of human shigellosis. Although inflammasomes are generally thought to promote Shigella pathogenesis, we instead demonstrate that intestinal epithelial cell (IEC)-specific NAIP–NLRC4 activity is sufficient to protect mice from shigellosis. In addition to describing a new mouse model of shigellosis, our results suggest that the lack of an inflammasome response in IECs may help explain the susceptibility of humans to shigellosis.
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