Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), the causative agent of tuberculosis, is an outstanding pathogen that modulates the host immune response. This inconvenient truth drives the continual identification of antigens that generate protective immunity, including Th1-type T cell immunity. Here, the contribution of methylmalonate semialdehyde dehydrogenase (MmsA, Rv0753c) of Mtb to immune responses was examined in the context of dendritic cell (DC) activation and T cell immunity both in vitro and in vivo. The results showed that MmsA induced DC activation by activating the MAPK and NF-κB signaling pathways. Additionally, MmsA-treated DCs activated naïve T cells, effectively polarized CD4+ and CD8+ T cells to secrete IFN-γ and IL-2, and induced T cell proliferation. These results indicate that MmsA is a novel DC maturation-inducing antigen that drives the Th1 immune response. Thus, MmsA was found to potentially regulate immune responses via DC activation toward Th1-type T cell immunity, enhancing our understanding of Mtb pathogenesis.
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