Comparison and characterization of granulocyte cell models for Anaplasma phagocytophilum infection

Kristen E. Rennoll-Bankert, Sara H. Sinclair, Marguerite A. Lichay, J. Stephen Dumler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Anaplasma phagocytophilum, an obligate intracellular bacterium, modifies functions of its in vivo host, the neutrophil. The challenges of using neutrophils ex vivo necessitate cell line models. However, cell line infections do not currently mimic ex vivo neutrophil infection characteristics. To understand these discrepancies, we compared infection of cell lines to ex vivo human neutrophils and differentiated hematopoietic stem cells with regard to infection capacity, oxidative burst, host defense gene expression, and differentiation. Using established methods, marked ex vivo neutrophil infection heterogeneity was observed at 24-48 h necessitating cell sorting to obtain homogeneously infected cells at levels observed in vivo. Moreover, gene expression of infected cell lines differed markedly from the prior standard of unsorted infected neutrophils. Differentiated HL-60 cells sustained similar infection levels to neutrophils in vivo and closely mimicked functional and transcriptional changes of sorted infected neutrophils. Thus, care must be exercised using ex vivo neutrophils for A. phagocytophilum infection studies because a major determinant of transcriptional and functional changes among all cells was the intracellular bacteria quantity. Furthermore, comparisons of ex vivo neutrophils and the surrogate HL-60 cell model allowed the determination that specific cellular functions and transcriptional programs are targeted by the bacterium without significantly modifying differentiation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-64
Number of pages10
JournalPathogens and Disease
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014



  • Anaplasma phagocytophilum
  • Differentiation
  • Infection model
  • Neutrophil
  • Phagocyte oxidase
  • Transcriptome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)

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