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Tuberculosis (Edinb). 2009 Jul;89(4):285-93. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2009 Jun 10.

Gene expression in HIV-1/Mycobacterium tuberculosis co-infected macrophages is dominated by M. tuberculosis.

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HIV Molecular Pathogenesis Group, Centre for Virus Research, Westmead Millennium Institute, University of Sydney, Westmead NSW 2145, Australia.


The resurgence of tuberculosis worldwide has closely mirrored the HIV pandemic. In regions like sub-Saharan Africa, a large proportion of individuals are co-infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis and HIV. Macrophages are the reservoir host cells for both pathogens, however the interactions between both pathogens in co-infected cells remain poorly understood. Thus, the global gene responses of primary human macrophages following productive co-infection with highly purified HIV and M. tuberculosis were analyzed using cDNA microarrays. A broad range of genes was up-regulated in response to co-infection or M. tuberculosis infection of primary macrophages, including those encoding pro-inflammatory chemokines and cytokines, their receptors, signalling associated genes, type I IFN signalling genes and genes of the tryptophan degradation pathway. Real-time RT-PCR analysis confirmed up-regulation of a wide variety of genes including indoleamine 2,3 dioxygenase and Sp110 in M. tuberculosis and co-infected samples. Downstream analysis confirmed significant elevation of the chemokines CCL3, CCL4 and CCL8 in M. tuberculosis and co-infected culture supernatants. In contrast, the changes seen in gene expression following HIV infection alone were fewer in number and significantly less in magnitude. Thus, the effects of M. tuberculosis infection on global gene expression dominated the effects of HIV-1 in co-infected primary human macrophages.

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