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Cell Microbiol. 2008 Feb;10(2):487-98. Epub 2007 Oct 28.

iNOS activity is critical for the clearance of Burkholderia mallei from infected RAW 264.7 murine macrophages.

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Laboratory of Zoonotic Pathogens, RTB, Rocky Mountain Laboratories, NIAID, NIH, Hamilton, MT 59840, USA.


Burkholderia mallei is a facultative intracellular pathogen that can cause fatal disease in animals and humans. To better understand the role of phagocytic cells in the control of infections caused by this organism, studies were initiated to examine the interactions of B. mallei with RAW 264.7 murine macrophages. Utilizing modified kanamycin-protection assays, B. mallei was shown to survive and replicate in RAW 264.7 cells infected at multiplicities of infection (moi) of < or = 1. In contrast, the organism was efficiently cleared by the macrophages when infected at an moi of 10. Interestingly, studies demonstrated that the monolayers only produced high levels of TNF-alpha, IL-6, IL-10, GM-CSF, RANTES and IFN-beta when infected at an moi of 10. In addition, nitric oxide assays and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) immunoblot analyses revealed a strong correlation between iNOS activity and clearance of B. mallei from RAW 264.7 cells. Furthermore, treatment of activated macrophages with the iNOS inhibitor, aminoguanidine, inhibited clearance of B. mallei from infected monolayers. Based upon these results, it appears that moi significantly influence the outcome of interactions between B. mallei and murine macrophages and that iNOS activity is critical for the clearance of B. mallei from activated RAW 264.7 cells.

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