Bacterial infections are largely cleared by phagocytosis within specialized phagocytic cell types. Engulfed bacteria are subjected to increasingly harsh conditions and eventually killed as the phagosome in which they are sequestered matures through an ordered series of membrane fusion and fission events, leading to acidification, consequent activation of hydrolases, and synthesis of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species. In conventional dendritic cells (DCs), antigens from phagocytosed bacteria - such as Listeria monocytogenes - are processed and presented by major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I (MHC-I) and class II (MHC-II) molecules to activate naove pathogen-specific CD8+ and CD4+ T cells, respectively. These functions require modifications to the normal phagosome maturation program in which antigens are rapidly destroyed. As such, defects in DC phagosome maturation, arising either from bacterial evasion strategies or from host genetic deficiencies, can restrict the adaptive immune response by limiting antigen processing and presentation. Our preliminary results suggest that phagosome maturation and consequent MHC-II antigen presentation are altered in DCs from a mouse model of the genetic disease, Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome (HPS) type 2 (HPS2). HPS is a group of multi-system disorders characterized by oculocutaneous albinism, excessive bleeding, and other symptoms resulting form the failure to properly form tissue-specific intracellular compartments known collectively as lysosome-related organelles (LROs). HPS2 patients, who lack the endosomal protein sorting complex AP-3, additionally suffer from immunodeficiency and neutropenia. HPS7 and HPS8 patients lack a different complex, BLOC-1, that mediates different transport steps in other LRO- producing cell types;these patients are not immunodeficient. This suggests that AP-3 is specifically required for LRO function in immune cells. Notably, LROs in DCs have been implicated in several functions, including fusion with phagosomes to neutralize phagosomal pH and thereby promote antigen survival to allow for escape and presentation by MHC-I. Subsequent acidification is necessary to promote peptide generation for presentation by MHC II. Based on our preliminary data, we hypothesize that AP-3, but not BLOC-1, regulates phagosome maturation steps in DCs that are required for optimal presentation of phagocytosed bacterial antigens by MHC-II. We will test this hypothesis in the following Specific Aims: 1. To determine whether BLOC-1 or AP-3 are required for (a) optimal DC presentation of antigens following phagocytosis or other forms of endocytosis in vitro and (b) T cell immune responses upon challenge with a bacterial pathogen (L. monocytogenes) in vivo. 2. To test whether LRO biogenesis and/or phagosome maturation in bone marrow-derived DCs (BMDCs) is altered in HPS mouse models lacking BLOC-1 or AP-3.
Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome (HPS) is a group of genetic diseases that is unusually prevalent in Puerto Rico and in which patients suffer from a number of symptoms, including excessive bleeding, oculocutaneous albinism, and lung dysfunction. In one class of the disease (HPS type 2), patients also suffer from a mild immunodeficiency that has been linked to defects in one type of immune cell, the cytotoxic T lymphocyte. In this proposal, we will use a mouse model of HPS type 2 to test whether there are also defects in a different type of immune cell, the dendritic cell, and whether this malfunction is responsible for immunodeficiency against bacterial pathogens such as Listeria monocytogenes.
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