Jiajun Zhang,Yingying Cui,Xinxin Zang,Tingting Feng,Fanruo Chen,Hui Wang,Guanghui Dang,Siguo Liu
Int J Biol Macromol.2023 Oct 19;253(Pt 8):127547.doi: 10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2023.127547. Online ahead of print.
Macrophages serve as the primary immune cells responsible for the innate immune defense against Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) infection within the host. Specifically, NLRP3, a member of the NLRs family, plays a significant role in conferring resistance against MTB infection. Conversely, MTB evades innate immune killing by impeding the activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome, although the precise mechanism remains uncertain. In this study, we have identified PE12 (Rv1172c), a member of the PE/PPE family proteins, as an extracellular protein of MTB. PE12 interacts with Toll like receptor 4 (TLR4) in macrophages, forming the PE12-TLR4 complex which subsequently inhibits the transcription and expression of NLRP3. As a result, the transcription and secretion of IL-1β are reduced through the PE12-TLR4-NLRP3-IL-1β immune pathway. In vitro and in vivo experiments using a PE12-deficient strain (H37RvΔPE12) demonstrate a weakening of the suppression of the inflammatory response to MTB infection. Our findings highlight the role of the PE12 protein in not only inhibiting the transcription and release of inflammatory cytokines but also mediating the killing of MTB escape macrophages through TLR4 and inducing lung injury in MTB-infected mice. These results provide evidence that PE12 plays a significant role in the inhibition of the host immune response by MTB.
Keywords: Intracellular survival; Mycobacterium tuberculosis; NLRP3; PE12; TLR4.