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Infect Immun. 2003 Apr;71(4):2087-94.

Pneumolysin-dependent and -independent gene expression identified by cDNA microarray analysis of THP-1 human mononuclear cells stimulated by Streptococcus pneumoniae.

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Departments of Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, Tennessee, USA.


Pneumolysin is an important virulence factor of Streptococcus pneumoniae, interacting with the membranes of host cells to elicit a multitude of inflammatory responses. We used cDNA microarrays to identify genes which are responsive to S. pneumoniae in a pneumolysin-dependent and -independent fashion. The THP-1 human monocytic cell line was coincubated for 3 h with medium alone, with the virulent type 2 S. pneumoniae strain D39, or with the isogenic strain PLN, which does not express pneumolysin. RNA was isolated from the monocytes and hybridized on cDNA microarrays. Of 4,133 genes evaluated, 142 were found to be responsive in a pneumolysin-dependent fashion, whereas 40 were found to be responsive independent of pneumolysin. Genes that were up-regulated in cells exposed to D39 relative to those exposed to PLN included genes encoding proteins such as mannose binding lectin 1, lysozyme, alpha-1 catenin, cadherin 17, caspases 4 and 6, macrophage inflammatory protein 1beta (MIP-1beta), interleukin 8 (IL-8), monocyte chemotactic protein 3 (MCP-3), IL-2 receptor beta (IL-2Rbeta), IL-15 receptor alpha (IL-15Ralpha), interferon receptor 2, and prostaglandin E synthase. Down-regulated genes included those encoding complement component receptor 2/CD21, platelet-activating factor acetylhydrolase, and oxidized low-density lipoprotein receptor 1 (OLR1). Pneumolysin-independent responses included down-regulation of the genes encoding CD68, CD53, CD24, transforming growth factor beta2, and signal transducers and activators of transcription 1. These results demonstrate the striking effects of pneumolysin on the host cell upon exposure to S. pneumoniae.

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