Dong-Min Shin 1 , 2 , Bo-Young Jeon 3 , Hye-Mi Lee 1 , 2 , Hyo Sun Jin 1 , 2 , Jae-Min Yuk 1 , 2 , Chang-Hwa Song 1 , Sang-Hee Lee 2 , 4 , Zee-Won Lee 5 , Sang-Nae Cho 3 , Jin-Man Kim 2 , 4 , Richard L. Friedman 6 , Eun-Kyeong Jo 1 , 2 , *
16 December 2010
The “enhanced intracellular survival” ( eis) gene of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) is involved in the intracellular survival of M. smegmatis. However, its exact effects on host cell function remain elusive. We herein report that Mtb Eis plays essential roles in modulating macrophage autophagy, inflammatory responses, and cell death via a reactive oxygen species (ROS)-dependent pathway. Macrophages infected with an Mtb eis-deletion mutant H37Rv (Mtb- Δeis) displayed markedly increased accumulation of massive autophagic vacuoles and formation of autophagosomes in vitro and in vivo. Infection of macrophages with Mtb- Δeis increased the production of tumor necrosis factor-α and interleukin-6 over the levels produced by infection with wild-type or complemented strains. Elevated ROS generation in macrophages infected with Mtb- Δeis (for which NADPH oxidase and mitochondria were largely responsible) rendered the cells highly sensitive to autophagy activation and cytokine production. Despite considerable activation of autophagy and proinflammatory responses, macrophages infected with Mtb- Δeis underwent caspase-independent cell death. This cell death was significantly inhibited by blockade of autophagy and c-Jun N-terminal kinase-ROS signaling, suggesting that excessive autophagy and oxidative stress are detrimental to cell survival. Finally, artificial over-expression of Eis or pretreatment with recombinant Eis abrogated production of both ROS and proinflammatory cytokines, which depends on the N-acetyltransferase domain of the Eis protein. Collectively, these data indicate that Mtb Eis suppresses host innate immune defenses by modulating autophagy, inflammation, and cell death in a redox-dependent manner.
Tuberculosis is a global health problem: at least one-third of the world's population is infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb). Mtb is a successful pathogen that enhances its own intracellular survival by arresting phagolysosomal fusion. Recently, autophagy has emerged as a host defense strategy against Mtb infection, through stimulation of the fusion of phagosomes and lysosomes. However, excessive and uncontrolled autophagic activity can be detrimental to host cells and can result in their death. The Mtb “enhanced intracellular survival” ( eis) gene has been implicated in the intracellular survival of M. smegmatis. However, its exact role and how it regulates host innate immune responses have not been fully explained. Here, we provide evidence that Eis suppresses macrophage autophagy, inflammation, and cell death through the inhibition of reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation. Although it has previously been demonstrated that autophagy is a key host defense response to mycobacterial infections, our data indicate that excessive autophagy, and the resulting cell death, do not significantly affect host defense responses to mycobacteria. Additionally, our data reveal that Eis's ability to regulate ROS generation and proinflammatory responses depends on its N-acetyltransferase domain. These results underscore a previously unrecognized role of Eis in modulating host inflammatory responses, oxidative stress, and cell survival/death during mycobacterial infection.