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PLoS One. 2018 Mar 8;13(3):e0194202. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0194202. eCollection 2018.

Reduced inflammation and cytokine production in NKLAM deficient mice during Streptococcus pneumoniae infection.

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Department of Pathology, Saint Louis University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO, United States of America.
VA St. Louis Health Care System, St. Louis, MO, United States of America.


Streptococcus pneumoniae is a leading cause of pneumonia and a significant economic burden. Antibiotic-resistant S. pneumoniae has become more prevalent in recent years and many pneumonia cases are caused by S. pneumoniae that is resistant to at least one antibiotic. The ubiquitin ligase natural killer lytic-associated molecule (NKLAM/RNF19b) plays a role in innate immunity and studies using NKLAM-knockout (NKLAM-KO) macrophages have demonstrated that NKLAM positively affects the transcriptional activity of STAT1. Using an inhalation infection model, we found that NKLAM-KO mice had a significantly higher lung bacterial load than WT mice but had less lung inflammation. Coincidently, NKLAM-KO mice had fewer neutrophils and NK cells in their lungs. NKLAM-KO mice also expressed less iNOS in their lungs as well as less MCP-1, MIP1α, TNFα, IL-12, and IFNγ. Both neutrophils and macrophages from NKLAM-KO mice were defective in killing S. pneumoniae as compared to wild type cells (WT). The phosphorylation of STAT1 and STAT3 in NKLAM-KO lungs was lower than in WT lungs at 24 hours post-infection. NKLAM-KO mice were afforded some protection against a lethal dose of S. pneumoniae compared to WT mice. In summary, our novel data demonstrate a role for E3 ubiquitin ligase NKLAM in modulating innate immunity via the positive regulation of inflammatory cytokine expression and bactericidal activity.

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