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The Journal of biological chemistry

Autophagy modulates Borrelia burgdorferi-induced production of interleukin-1β (IL-1β).


PMID 23386602

Abstract

Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato is the causative agent of Lyme disease. Recent studies have shown that recognition of the spirochete is mediated by TLR2 and NOD2. The latter receptor has been associated with the induction of the intracellular degradation process called autophagy. The present study demonstrated for the first time the induction of autophagy by exposure to B. burgdorferi and that autophagy modulates the B. burgdorferi-dependent cytokine production. Human peripheral blood mononuclear cells treated with autophagy inhibitors showed an increased IL-1β and IL-6 production in response to the exposure of the spirochete, whereas TNFα production was unchanged. Autophagy induction against B. burgdorferi was dependent on reactive oxygen species (ROS) because cells from patients with chronic granulomatous disease, which are defective in ROS production, also produced elevated IL-1β. Further, the enhanced production of the proinflammatory cytokines was because of the elevated mRNA expression in the absence of autophagy. Our results thus demonstrate the induction of autophagy, which, in turn, modulates cytokine production by B. burgdorferi for the first time.

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