Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 31921172
Front Immunol 2019;10:2913
, the causative agent of leprosy, is unique amongst human pathogens in its capacity to produce the virulence factor phenolic glycolipid (PGL)-I. In addition to mediating bacterial tropism for neurons, PGL-I interacts with Complement Receptor (CR)3 on macrophages (MPs) to promote infection. We demonstrate here that PGL-I binding to CR3 also enhances bacterial invasion of both polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMNs) and dendritic cells (DCs). Moreover, in all cell types CR3 engagement by PGL-I activates the Syk tyrosine kinase, inducing calcineurin-dependent nuclear translocation of the transcription factor NFATc. This selectively augments the production of IL-2 by DCs, IL-10 by PMNs and IL-1β by MPs. In intranasally-infected mice PGL-I binding to CR3 heightens mycobacterial phagocytosis by lung PMNs and MPs, and stimulates NFATc-controlled production of Syk-dependent cytokines. Our study thus identifies the CR3-Syk-NFATc axis as a novel signaling pathway activated by PGL-I in innate immune cells, rewiring host cytokine responses to .