The cellular barriers of the central nervous system proficiently protect the brain parenchyma from infectious insults. Yet, the single-celled parasite Toxoplasma gondii commonly causes latent cerebral infection in humans and other vertebrates. Here, we addressed the role of the cerebral vasculature in the passage of T. gondii to the brain parenchyma. Shortly after inoculation in mice, parasites mainly localized to cortical capillaries, in preference over post-capillary venules, cortical arterioles or meningeal and choroidal vessels. Early invasion to the parenchyma (days 1-5) occurred in absence of a measurable increase in blood-brain barrier (BBB) permeability, perivascular leukocyte cuffs or hemorrhage. However, sparse focalized permeability elevations were detected adjacently to replicative parasite foci. Further, T. gondii triggered inflammatory responses in cortical microvessels and endothelium. Pro- and anti-inflammatory treatments of mice with LPS and hydrocortisone, respectively, impacted BBB permeability and parasite loads in the brain parenchyma. Finally, pharmacological inhibition or Cre/loxP conditional knockout of endothelial focal adhesion kinase (FAK), a BBB intercellular junction regulator, facilitated parasite translocation to the brain parenchyma. The data reveal that the initial passage of T. gondii to the central nervous system occurs principally across cortical capillaries. The integrity of the microvascular BBB restricts parasite transit, which conversely is exacerbated by the inflammatory response.
All data generated or analysed during this study are included in the manuscript and supporting files.
- Antonio Barragan
- Antonio Barragan
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: All animal experimentation was approved by the Regional Animal Research Ethical Board, Stockholm, Sweden, (protocol numbers N135/15, 9707-2018 and 14458-2019), following proceedings described in EU legislation (Council Directive 2010/63/EU).
- Sebastian Lourido, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, United States
© 2021, Olivera et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Bacteria of the genus Shigella cause shigellosis, a severe gastrointestinal disease driven by bacterial colonization of colonic intestinal epithelial cells. Vertebrates have evolved programmed cell death pathways that sense invasive enteric pathogens and eliminate their intracellular niche. Previously we reported that genetic removal of one such pathway, the NAIP–NLRC4 inflammasome, is sufficient to convert mice from resistant to susceptible to oral Shigella flexneri challenge (Mitchell et al., 2020). Here, we investigate the protective role of additional cell death pathways during oral mouse Shigella infection. We find that the Caspase-11 inflammasome, which senses Shigella LPS, restricts Shigella colonization of the intestinal epithelium in the absence of NAIP–NLRC4. However, this protection is limited when Shigella expresses OspC3, an effector that antagonizes Caspase-11 activity. TNFα, a cytokine that activates Caspase-8-dependent apoptosis, also provides potent protection from Shigella colonization of the intestinal epithelium when mice lack both NAIP–NLRC4 and Caspase-11. The combined genetic removal of Caspases-1, -11, and -8 renders mice hyper-susceptible to oral Shigella infection. Our findings uncover a layered hierarchy of cell death pathways that limit the ability of an invasive gastrointestinal pathogen to cause disease.
High-throughput sequencing of adaptive immune receptor repertoires is a valuable tool for receiving insights in adaptive immunity studies. Several powerful TCR/BCR repertoire reconstruction and analysis methods have been developed in the past decade. However, detecting and correcting the discrepancy between real and experimentally observed lymphocyte clone frequencies is still challenging. Here we discovered a hallmark anomaly in the ratio between read count and clone count-based frequencies of non-functional clonotypes in multiplex PCR-based immune repertoires. Calculating this anomaly, we formulated a quantitative measure of V- and J-genes frequency bias driven by multiplex PCR during library preparation called Over Amplification Rate (OAR). Based on the OAR concept, we developed an original software for multiplex PCR-specific bias evaluation and correction named iROAR: Immune Repertoire Over Amplification Removal (https://github.com/smiranast/iROAR). The iROAR algorithm was successfully tested on previously published TCR repertoires obtained using both 5' RACE (Rapid Amplification of cDNA Ends)-based and multiplex PCR-based approaches and compared with a biological spike-in-based method for PCR bias evaluation. The developed approach can increase the accuracy and consistency of repertoires reconstructed by different methods making them more applicable for comparative analysis.