Pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) signal through Toll-like receptors (TLRs) to activate immune responses, but prolonged exposure to PAMPs from Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) and other pathogens inhibits class II MHC (MHC-II) expression and Ag processing, which may allow MTB to evade CD4+ T cell immunity. Alternate class I MHC (MHC-I) processing allows macrophages to present Ags from MTB and other bacteria to CD8+ T cells, but the effect of PAMPs on this processing pathway is unknown. In our studies, MTB and TLR-signaling PAMPs, MTB 19-kDa lipoprotein, CpG DNA, and LPS, inhibited alternate MHC-I processing of latex-conjugated Ag by IFN-γ-activated macrophages. Inhibition was dependent on TLR-2 for MTB 19-kDa lipoprotein (but not whole MTB or the other PAMPs); inhibition was dependent on myeloid differentiation factor 88 for MTB and all of the individual PAMPs. Inhibition of MHC-II and alternate MHC-I processing was delayed, appearing after 16 h of PAMP exposure, as would occur in chronically infected macrophages. Despite inhibition of alternate MHC-I Ag processing, there was no inhibition of MHC-I expression, MHC-I-restricted presentation of exogenous peptide or conventional MHC-I processing of cytosolic Ag. MTB 19-kDa lipoprotein and other PAMPs inhibited phagosome maturation and phagosome Ag degradation in a myeloid differentiation factor 88-dependent manner; this may limit availability of peptides to bind MHC-I. By inhibiting both MHC-II and alternate MHC-I Ag processing, pathogens that establish prolonged infection of macrophages (>16 h), e.g., MTB, may immunologically silence macrophages and evade surveillance by both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells, promoting chronic infection.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy