Altered Toll-Like Receptor 9 Signaling in Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis-Infected Bovine Monocytes Reveals Potential Therapeutic Targets

Arsenault et al., Infect. Immun. (2013) - PMID: 23115040

Product(s) used in this publication:  PepStar™ Peptide Microarrays


Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis is the causative agent of Johne's disease in cattle. The complex, multifaceted interaction of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis with its host includes dampening the ability of infected cells to respond to stimuli that promote M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis clearance. By disrupting host defenses, M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis creates an intracellular environment that favors the establishment and maintenance of infection. Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are important sensors that initiate innate immune responses to microbial challenge and are also immunotherapeutic targets. For example, TLR9 contributes to host defense against M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis, and its agonists (CpG oligodeoxynucleotides [ODNs]) are under investigation for treatment of Johne's disease and other infections. Here we demonstrate that M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis infection changes the responsiveness of bovine monocytes to TLR9 stimulation. M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis inhibits classical TLR9-mediated responses despite a 10-fold increase in TLR9 expression and maintained uptake of CpG ODNs. Other TLR9-mediated responses, such as oxidative burst, which occur through noncanonical signaling, remain functional. Kinome analysis verifies that classic TLR9 signaling is blocked by M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis infection and that signaling instead proceeds through a Pyk2-mediated mechanism. Pyk2-mediated signaling does not hinder infection, as CpG ODNs fail to promote M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis clearance. Indeed, Pyk2 signaling appears to be an important aspect of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis infection, as Pyk2 inhibitors significantly reduce the number of intracellular M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis bacteria. The actions of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis on TLR9 signaling may represent a strategy to generate a host environment which is better suited for infection, revealing potential new targets for therapeutic intervention.

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