PLoS pathogens

Porphyromonas gingivalis evasion of autophagy and intracellular killing by human myeloid dendritic cells involves DC-SIGN-TLR2 crosstalk.

PMID 25679217


Signaling via pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) expressed on professional antigen presenting cells, such as dendritic cells (DCs), is crucial to the fate of engulfed microbes. Among the many PRRs expressed by DCs are Toll-like receptors (TLRs) and C-type lectins such as DC-SIGN. DC-SIGN is targeted by several major human pathogens for immune-evasion, although its role in intracellular routing of pathogens to autophagosomes is poorly understood. Here we examined the role of DC-SIGN and TLRs in evasion of autophagy and survival of Porphyromonas gingivalis in human monocyte-derived DCs (MoDCs). We employed a panel of P. gingivalis isogenic fimbriae deficient strains with defined defects in Mfa-1 fimbriae, a DC-SIGN ligand, and FimA fimbriae, a TLR2 agonist. Our results show that DC-SIGN dependent uptake of Mfa1+P. gingivalis strains by MoDCs resulted in lower intracellular killing and higher intracellular content of P. gingivalis. Moreover, Mfa1+P. gingivalis was mostly contained within single membrane vesicles, where it survived intracellularly. Survival was decreased by activation of TLR2 and/or autophagy. Mfa1+P. gingivalis strain did not induce significant levels of Rab5, LC3-II, and LAMP1. In contrast, P. gingivalis uptake through a DC-SIGN independent manner was associated with early endosomal routing through Rab5, increased LC3-II and LAMP-1, as well as the formation of double membrane intracellular phagophores, a characteristic feature of autophagy. These results suggest that selective engagement of DC-SIGN by Mfa-1+P. gingivalis promotes evasion of antibacterial autophagy and lysosome fusion, resulting in intracellular persistence in myeloid DCs; however TLR2 activation can overcome autophagy evasion and pathogen persistence in DCs.