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Microbes Infect 2009 Jan;11(1):49-56

NK cells activated in vivo by bacterial DNA control the intracellular growth of Francisella tularensis LVS.

Elkins KL, Colombini SM, Krieg AM, DePascalis R


We demonstrated previously that mice treated with bacterial or oligonucleotide DNA containing unmethylated CpG motifs are transiently protected against lethal parenteral challenge with the intracellular bacterium Francisella tularensis Live Vaccine Strain (LVS). Here we explore the cellular basis of this protection. Wild type mice that were treated with CpG oligonucleotide DNA and challenged with a lethal dose of LVS survived, while mice lacking TLR9 did not. In vitro, treatment of LVS-infected macrophages and/or naive splenocytes with oligo DNA had no impact on intracellular bacterial replication. In contrast, in vitro co-culture of LVS-infected macrophages with splenocytes obtained from mice treated with oligo DNA in vivo resulted in control of intracellular LVS growth. Control was reversed by antibodies to interferon-ã or to tumor necrosis factor-á and by inhibition of nitric oxide, and to a lesser degree by antibodies to Interleukin-12. Further, splenocytes from DNA-primed normal, T cell KO, B cell KO, lymphocyte-deficient scid, or perforin KO mice all controlled intra-macrophage LVS growth. Enriched DNA-primed natural killer cells, but not B cells, clearly controlled intracellular LVS growth. Thus, NK cells contribute to DNA-mediated protection by production of cytokines including IFN-ã and TNF-á, resulting in nitric oxide production and control of intracellular Francisella replication.

Category: Journal Article
PubMed ID: #18992838 DOI: 10.1016/j.micinf.2008.10.005
Includes FDA Authors from Scientific Area(s): Biologics
Entry Created: 2011-10-04 Entry Last Modified: 2012-08-29