The cell wall β-glucans of Pneumocystis cysts have been shown to stimulate immune responses in lung epithelial cells, dendritic cells, and alveolar macrophages. Little is known about how the trophic life forms, which do not have a fungal cell wall, interact with these innate immune cells. Here we report differences in the responses of both neonatal and adult mice to the trophic and cystic life cycle stages of Pneumocystis murina. The adult and neonatal immune responses to infection with Pneumocystis murina trophic forms were less robust than the responses to infection with a physiologically normal mixture of cysts and trophic forms. Cysts promoted the recruitment of nonresident innate immune cells and T and B cells into the lungs. Cysts, but not trophic forms, stimulated increased concentrations of the cytokine gamma interferon (IFN-γ) in the alveolar spaces and an increase in the percentage of CD4+ T cells that produce IFN-γ. In vitro, bone marrow-derived dendritic cells (BMDCs) stimulated with cysts produced the proinflammatory cytokines interleukin 1β (IL-1β) and IL-6. In contrast, trophic forms suppressed antigen presentation to CD4+ T cells, as well as the β-glucan-, lipoteichoic acid (LTA)-, and lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced production of interleukin 1β (IL-1β), IL-6, and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) by BMDCs. The negative effects of trophic forms were not due to ligation of mannose receptor. Our results indicate that optimal innate and adaptive immune responses to Pneumocystis species are dependent on stimulation with the cyst life cycle stage. Conversely, trophic forms suppress β-glucan-induced proinflammatory responses in vitro, suggesting that the trophic forms dampen cyst-induced inflammation in vivo.

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Published in Infection and Immunity, v. 84, no. 11, p. 3195-3205.

Copyright © 2016, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.

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This work, including the efforts of Beth A. Garvy, was funded by HHS | NIH | National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) (AI118818). This work, including the efforts of Beth A. Garvy, was funded by HHS | NIH | National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) (HL062053).

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Supplemental material for this article may be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/IAI.00519-16.

zii999091867so1.pdf (216 kB)
Supplemental Material: Figure S1-S3.