Haemophilus ducreyi lipooligosaccharides induce expression of the immunosuppressive enzyme indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase via type I interferons and tumor necrosis factor alpha in human dendritic cells

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Haemophilus ducreyi causes chancroid, a genital ulcer disease. In human inoculation experiments, most volunteers fail to clear the bacteria despite the infiltration of innate and adaptive immune cells to the infected sites. The immunosuppressive protein indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) is a rate-limiting enzyme in the L-tryptophan-kynurenine metabolic pathway. Tryptophan depletion and tryptophan metabolites contribute to pathogen persistence by inhibiting T cell proliferation, inducing T cell apoptosis, and promoting the expansion of FOXP3+ regulatory T (Treg) cells. We previously found that FOXP3+ Treg cells are enriched in experimental lesions and that H. ducreyi induced IDO transcription in dendritic cells (DC) derived from blood of infected volunteers who developed pustules. Here, we showed that enzymatically active IDO was induced in DC by H. ducreyi. Neutralizing antibodies against interferon alpha/beta receptor 2 chain (IFNAR2) and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) inhibited IDO induction. Inhibitors of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) p38 and nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) also inhibited IDO expression. Neither bacterial contact with nor uptake by DC was required for IDO activation. H. ducreyi culture supernatant and H. ducreyi lipooligosaccharides (LOS) induced IDO expression, which required type I interferons, TNF-α, and the three MAPK (p38, c-Jun N-terminal kinase, and extracellular signal regulated kinase) and NF-κB pathways. In addition, LOSinduced IFN-β activated the JAK-STAT pathway. Blocking the LOS/Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) signaling pathway greatly reduced H. ducreyi-induced IDO production. These findings indicate that H. ducreyi-induced IDO expression in DC is largely mediated by LOS via type I interferon- and TNF-α-dependent mechanisms and the MAPK, NF-κB, and JAK-STAT pathways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3338-3347
Number of pages10
JournalInfection and immunity
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2011


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases

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