In a previous study, we have identified MTBK_24820, the complete protein form of PPE39 in the hypervirulent Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) strain Beijing/K by using comparative genomic analysis. PPE39 exhibited vaccine potential against Mtb challenge in a murine model. Thus, in this present study, we characterize PPE39-induced immunological features by investigating the interaction of PPE39 with dendritic cells (DCs). PPE39-treated DCs display reduced dextran uptake and enhanced MHC-I, MHC-II, CD80 and CD86 expression, indicating that this PPE protein induces phenotypic DC maturation. In addition, PPE39-treated DCs produce TNF-α, IL-6 and IL-12p70 to a similar and/or greater extent than lipopolysaccharide-treated DCs in a dose-dependent manner. The activating effect of PPE39 on DCs was mediated by TLR4 through downstream MAPK and NF-κB signaling pathways. Moreover, PPE39-treated DCs promoted naïve CD4+ T-cell proliferation accompanied by remarkable increases of IFN-γ and IL-2 secretion levels, and an increase in the Th1-related transcription factor T-bet but not in Th2-associated expression of GATA-3, suggesting that PPE39 induces Th1-type T-cell responses through DC activation. Collectively, the results indicate that the complete form of PPE39 is a so-far-unknown TLR4 agonist that induces Th1-cell biased immune responses by interacting with DCs.This article has an associated First Person interview with the first author of the paper.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cell Biology