The research goal of this application is to initiate studies to identify specific innate immune receptors, including toll-like receptors (tlr) that are activated by filarial and Wolbachia products. Additionally, early immune effector molecules involved in the inflammatory response, such as cytokines and chemokines, will be identified. Initial laboratory studies will utilize transfected cell lines and animal models to identify important receptor pathways. Later work will confirm the mechanism of recognition and response to filarial and Wolbachia products in human disease using peripheral blood monocytes from humans infected with Wuchereria bancrofti in Papua New Guinea. Training in laboratory techniques, research methodology and ethics, field based research and clinical tropical medicine will be important components of the project. Wolbachia are obligatory intracellular bacteria that infect all filarial species of medical significance. Recent observations indicate that lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-Iike products of Wolbachia endosymbionts induce acute inflammatory responses in the mammalian host. Preliminary studies using CD14+ monocytes from filadae-naive humans indicate that B. malayi extracts stimulate TNF-alpha, IL-6, and IL-10 production. In contrast, Acanthocheilonema viteae, a filarial parasite not infected with Wolbachia, or B. malayi treated with doxycycline stimulate little to no cytokine production by monocytes. Experiments using transfected cell lines expressing human toll-like receptors and monocytes exposed to B. malayi extracts with competitive inhibitors of the LPS - TLR4 interaction suggest that the stimulatory effects of Brugia are exerted through both TLR4 and TLR4-independent pathways. However, differences and similarities of receptors involved in recognition of nematode versus Wolbachia ligands have not yet been identified.
The aims of this project are to identify specific innate immune receptors including the toll-like receptor family and signaling pathways that are activated by filarial and Wolbachia products and to characterize the early innate immune mechanisms by which the human host recognizes and responds to filarial infections including those mediated by endosymbiotic Wolbachia.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Clinical Investigator Award (CIA) (K08)
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Microbiology and Infectious Diseases B Subcommittee (MID)
Program Officer
Wali, Tonu M
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Case Western Reserve University
Internal Medicine/Medicine
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United States
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Gillette-Ferguson, Illona; Daehnel, Katrin; Hise, Amy G et al. (2007) Toll-like receptor 2 regulates CXC chemokine production and neutrophil recruitment to the cornea in Onchocerca volvulus/Wolbachia-induced keratitis. Infect Immun 75:5908-15
Hise, Amy G; Daehnel, Katrin; Gillette-Ferguson, Illona et al. (2007) Innate immune responses to endosymbiotic Wolbachia bacteria in Brugia malayi and Onchocerca volvulus are dependent on TLR2, TLR6, MyD88, and Mal, but not TLR4, TRIF, or TRAM. J Immunol 178:1068-76
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Gillette-Ferguson, Illona; Hise, Amy G; Sun, Yan et al. (2006) Wolbachia- and Onchocerca volvulus-induced keratitis (river blindness) is dependent on myeloid differentiation factor 88. Infect Immun 74:2442-5
Sun, Yan; Hise, Amy G; Kalsow, Carolyn M et al. (2006) Staphylococcus aureus-induced corneal inflammation is dependent on Toll-like receptor 2 and myeloid differentiation factor 88. Infect Immun 74:5325-32
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Gillette-Ferguson, Illona; Hise, Amy G; McGarry, Helen F et al. (2004) Wolbachia-induced neutrophil activation in a mouse model of ocular onchocerciasis (river blindness). Infect Immun 72:5687-92