thesis

Deciphering the C-Type Lectin Receptor Signaling Pathway in Macrophages in Response to Candida albicans

Abstract

Candida albicans causes opportunistic fungal infections in humans and is a significant cause of mortality and morbidity in immune-compromised individuals. Dectin-2, a C-type lectin receptor, is required for recognition of C. albicans by innate immune cells and is required for initiation of the anti-fungal immune response. We set out to identify components of the intracellular signaling cascade downstream of Dectin-2 activation in macrophages and to understand their importance in mediating the immune response to C. albicans in vivo. Using macrophages derived from Phospholipase-C-gamma 1 and 2 (PLCγ1and PLCγ2) knockout mice, we demonstrate that PLCγ2, but not PLCγ1, is required for activation of NF-κB and MAPK signaling pathways after C. albicans stimulation, resulting in impaired production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and reactive oxygen species. PLCγ2-deficient mice are highly susceptible to infections with C. albicans, indicating the importance of this pathway to the anti-fungal immune response. TAK1 and TRAF6 are critical nodes in NF-κB and MAPK activation downstream of immune surveillance and may be critical to the signaling cascade initiated by C-type lectin receptors in response to C. albicans. Macrophages derived from both TAK1 and TRAF6-deficient mice were unable to activate NF-κB and MAPK and consequently failed to produce inflammatory cytokines characteristic of the response to C. albicans. In this work we have identified PLCγ2, TAK1 and TRAF6 as components of a signaling cascade downstream of C. albicans recognition by C-type lectin receptors and as critical mediators of the anti-fungal immune response. A mechanistic understanding of the host immune response to C. albicans is important for the development of anti-fungal therapeutics and in understanding risk-factors determining susceptibility to C. albicans infection

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This paper was published in DigitalCommons@The Texas Medical Center.

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