The Mycobacterium tuberculosis 19-kilodalton lipoprotein inhibits gamma interferon-regulated HLA-DR and Fc gamma R1 on human macrophages through Toll-like receptor 2

Adam J Gehring, Roxana E Rojas, David H Canaday, David L Lakey, Clifford V Harding, W Henry Boom
Infection and Immunity 2003, 71 (8): 4487-97
Mycobacterium tuberculosis survives in macrophages in the face of acquired CD4(+) T-cell immunity, which controls but does not eliminate the organism. Gamma interferon (IFN-gamma) has a central role in host defenses against M. tuberculosis by activating macrophages and regulating major histocompatibility complex class II (MHC-II) antigen (Ag) processing. M. tuberculosis interferes with IFN-gamma receptor (IFN-gamma R) signaling in macrophages, but the molecules responsible for this inhibition are poorly defined. This study determined that the 19-kDa lipoprotein from M. tuberculosis inhibits IFN-gamma-regulated HLA-DR protein and mRNA expression in human macrophages. Inhibition of HLA-DR expression was associated with decreased processing and presentation of soluble protein Ags and M. tuberculosis bacilli to MHC-II-restricted T cells. Inhibition of HLA-DR required prolonged exposure to 19-kDa lipoprotein and was blocked with a monoclonal antibody specific for Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR-2). The 19-kDa lipoprotein also inhibited IFN-gamma-induced expression of Fc gamma RI. Thus, M. tuberculosis, through 19-kDa lipoprotein activation of TLR-2, inhibits IFN-gamma R signaling in human macrophages, resulting in decreased MHC-II Ag processing and recognition by MHC-II-restricted CD4 T cells. These findings provide a mechanism for M. tuberculosis persistence in macrophages.

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