• Deletion of Irf3 and Irf7 Genes in Mice Results in Altered Interferon Pathway Activation and Granulocyte-Dominated Inflammatory Responses to Influenza A Infection.

      Hatesuer, Bastian; Hoang, Hang Thi Thu; Riese, Peggy; Trittel, Stephanie; Gerhauser, Ingo; Elbahesh, Husni; Geffers, Robert; Wilk, Esther; Schughart, Klaus; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr.7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017)
      The interferon (IFN) pathway plays an essential role in the innate immune response following viral infections and subsequent shaping of adaptive immunity. Infections with influenza A viruses (IAV) activate the IFN pathway after the recognition of pathogen-specific molecular patterns by respective pattern recognition receptors. The IFN regulatory factors IRF3 and IRF7 are key players in the regulation of type I and III IFN genes. In this study, we analyzed the role of IRF3 and IRF7 for the host response to IAV infections in Irf3-/-, Irf7-/-, and Irf3-/-Irf7-/- knockout mice. While the absence of IRF3 had only a moderate impact on IFN expression, deletion of IRF7 completely abolished IFNα production after infection. In contrast, lack of both IRF3 and IRF7 resulted in the absence of both IFNα and IFNβ after IAV infection. In addition, IAV infection of double knockout mice resulted in a strong increase of mortality associated with a massive influx of granulocytes in the lung and reduced activation of the adaptive immune response.
    • Induction of endogenous Type I interferon within the central nervous system plays a protective role in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis.

      Khorooshi, Reza; Mørch, Marlene Thorsen; Holm, Thomas Hellesøe; Berg, Carsten Tue; Dieu, Ruthe Truong; Dræby, Dina; Issazadeh-Navikas, Shohreh; Weiß, Siegfried; Lienenklaus, Stefan; Owens, Trevor; et al. (2015-07)
      The Type I interferons (IFN), beta (IFN-β) and the alpha family (IFN-α), act through a common receptor and have anti-inflammatory effects. IFN-β is used to treat multiple sclerosis (MS) and is effective against experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), an animal model for MS. Mice with EAE show elevated levels of Type I IFNs in the central nervous system (CNS), suggesting a role for endogenous Type I IFN during inflammation. However, the therapeutic benefit of Type I IFN produced in the CNS remains to be established. The aim of this study was to examine whether experimentally induced CNS-endogenous Type I IFN influences EAE. Using IFN-β reporter mice, we showed that direct administration of polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid (poly I:C), a potent inducer of IFN-β, into the cerebrospinal fluid induced increased leukocyte numbers and transient upregulation of IFN-β in CD45/CD11b-positive cells located in the meninges and choroid plexus, as well as enhanced IFN-β expression by parenchymal microglial cells. Intrathecal injection of poly I:C to mice showing first symptoms of EAE substantially increased the normal disease-associated expression of IFN-α, IFN-β, interferon regulatory factor-7 and IL-10 in CNS, and disease worsening was prevented for as long as IFN-α/β was expressed. In contrast, there was no therapeutic effect on EAE in poly I:C-treated IFN receptor-deficient mice. IFN-dependent microglial and astrocyte response included production of the chemokine CXCL10. These results show that Type I IFN induced within the CNS can play a protective role in EAE and highlight the role of endogenous type I IFN in mediating neuroprotection.
    • NK cell activation in visceral leishmaniasis requires TLR9, myeloid DCs, and IL-12, but is independent of plasmacytoid DCs.

      Schleicher, Ulrike; Liese, Jan; Knippertz, Ilka; Kurzmann, Claudia; Hesse, Andrea; Heit, Antje; Fischer, Jens A A; Weiss, Siegfried; Kalinke, Ulrich; Kunz, Stefanie; et al. (2007-04-16)
      Natural killer (NK) cells are sentinel components of the innate response to pathogens, but the cell types, pathogen recognition receptors, and cytokines required for their activation in vivo are poorly defined. Here, we investigated the role of plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs), myeloid DCs (mDCs), Toll-like receptors (TLRs), and of NK cell stimulatory cytokines for the induction of an NK cell response to the protozoan parasite Leishmania infantum. In vitro, pDCs did not endocytose Leishmania promastigotes but nevertheless released interferon (IFN)-alpha/beta and interleukin (IL)-12 in a TLR9-dependent manner. mDCs rapidly internalized Leishmania and, in the presence of TLR9, produced IL-12, but not IFN-alpha/beta. Depletion of pDCs did not impair the activation of NK cells in L. infantum-infected mice. In contrast, L. infantum-induced NK cell cytotoxicity and IFN-gamma production were abolished in mDC-depleted mice. The same phenotype was observed in TLR9(-/-) mice, which lacked IL-12 expression by mDCs, and in IL-12(-/-) mice, whereas IFN-alpha/beta receptor(-/-) mice showed only a minor reduction of NK cell IFN-gamma expression. This study provides the first direct evidence that mDCs are essential for eliciting NK cell cytotoxicity and IFN-gamma release in vivo and demonstrates that TLR9, mDCs, and IL-12 are functionally linked to the activation of NK cells in visceral leishmaniasis.