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PLoS Pathog. 2006 Jul;2(7):e71.

Macrophage pro-inflammatory response to Francisella novicida infection is regulated by SHIP.

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The Ohio State Biochemistry Program, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA.


Francisella tularensis, a Gram-negative facultative intracellular pathogen infecting principally macrophages and monocytes, is the etiological agent of tularemia. Macrophage responses to F. tularensis infection include the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as interleukin (IL)-12, which is critical for immunity against infection. Molecular mechanisms regulating production of these inflammatory mediators are poorly understood. Herein we report that the SH2 domain-containing inositol phosphatase (SHIP) is phosphorylated upon infection of primary murine macrophages with the genetically related F. novicida, and negatively regulates F. novicida-induced cytokine production. Analyses of the molecular details revealed that in addition to activating the MAP kinases, F. novicida infection also activated the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt pathway in these cells. Interestingly, SHIP-deficient macrophages displayed enhanced Akt activation upon F. novicida infection, suggesting elevated PI3K-dependent activation pathways in absence of SHIP. Inhibition of PI3K/Akt resulted in suppression of F. novicida-induced cytokine production through the inhibition of NFkappaB. Consistently, macrophages lacking SHIP displayed enhanced NFkappaB-driven gene transcription, whereas overexpression of SHIP led to decreased NFkappaB activation. Thus, we propose that SHIP negatively regulates F. novicida-induced inflammatory cytokine response by antagonizing the PI3K/Akt pathway and suppressing NFkappaB-mediated gene transcription. A detailed analysis of phosphoinositide signaling may provide valuable clues for better understanding the pathogenesis of tularemia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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