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PLoS One. 2012;7(11):e49252. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0049252. Epub 2012 Nov 12.

Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans GroEL protein promotes conversion of human CD4+ T cells into IFNγ IL10 producing Tbet+ Th1 cells.

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Molecular Immunology and Gene Regulation Laboratory, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Izmir Institute of Technology, Urla Izmir, Turkey.


One of the heat shock family protein (Hsp) expressing bacteria is the gram negative, periodontal pathogen Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans (Aa). A. actinomycetemcomitans' Hsp is a 64-kDa GroEL-protein, which has been shown to influence the host cells. In this study we used recombinant A. actinomycetemcomitans GroEL (rAaGroEL) protein as a model antigen to study GroEL-mediated T cell immune response. Human peripheral mononuclear cells (PBMCs), when stimulated with recombinant rAaGroEL, expressed early activation marker CD69 and IL-2R (CD25). CD25 and CD69 expressions were higher in CD4+ T cells compared to CD8+ T cells. rAaGroEL-responding CD4+ T cells expressed IL-10, IFNγ and TNFα cytokines. Interestingly, there were also IL-10 and IFNγ double cytokine producing CD4+ T cells. Additionally, IFNγ expressing CD4+ T cells were also T-bet positive. Altogether the results suggest that rAaGroEL protein affects CD4+ T cells to differentiate into IFNγ IL10-secreting T-bet+ Th1 cells.

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