Research Papers: Immunology:

PPE26 induces TLR2-dependent activation of macrophages and drives Th1-type T-cell immunity by triggering the cross-talk of multiple pathways involved in the host response

Haibo Su, Cong Kong, Lin Zhu, Qi Huang, Liulin Luo, Honghai Wang & Ying Xu _

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Oncotarget. 2015; 6:38517-38537. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.5956

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Haibo Su1, Cong Kong1, Lin Zhu1, Qi Huang1, Liulin Luo1,2, Honghai Wang1 and Ying Xu1

1 State Key Laboratory of Genetic Engineering, Institute of Genetics, School of Life Science, Fudan University, Shanghai, China

2 Department of Clinical Laboratory Medicine, Shanghai Pulmonary Hospital, Tongji University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China

Correspondence to:

Ying Xu, email:

Honghai Wang, email:

Keywords: PPE26, PE/PPE, mycobacterium tuberculosis, TLR2, proteomics, Immunology and Microbiology Section, Immune response and Immunity

Received: June 21, 2015 Accepted: September 12, 2015 Published: October 02, 2015


The pathophysiological functions and the underlying molecular basis of PE /PPE proteins of M. tuberculosis remain largely unknown. In this study, we focused on the link between PPE26 and host response. We demonstrated that PPE26 can induce extensive inflammatory responses in macrophages through triggering the cross-talk of multiple pathways involved in the host response, as revealed by iTRAQ-based subcellular quantitative proteomics. We observed that PPE26 is able to specifically bind to TLR2 leading to the subsequent activation of MAPKs and NF-κB signaling. PPE26 functionally stimulates macrophage activation by augmenting pro-inflammatory cytokine production (TNF-α, IL-6 and IL-12 p40) and the expression of cell surface markers (CD80, CD86, MHC class I and II). We observed that PPE26-treated macrophages effectively polarizes naïve CD4+ T cells to up-regulate CXCR3 expression, and to secrete IFN-γ and IL-2, indicating PPE26 contributes to the Th1 polarization during the immune response. Importantly, rBCG::PPE26 induces stronger antigen-specific TNF-α and IFN-γ activity, and higher levels of the Th1 cytokines TNF-α and IFN-γ comparable to BCG. Moreover, PPE26 effectively induces the reciprocal expansion of effector/memory CD4+/CD8+ CD44highCD62Llow T cells in the spleens of mice immunized with this strain. These results suggest that PPE26 may be a TLR2 agonist that stimulates innate immunity and adaptive immunity, indicating that PPE26 is a potential antigen for the rational design of an efficient vaccine against M. tuberculosis.

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