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Front Immunol. 2019 Mar 19;10:421. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2019.00421. eCollection 2019.

Differential Targeting of c-Maf, Bach-1, and Elmo-1 by microRNA-143 and microRNA-365 Promotes the Intracellular Growth of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in Alternatively IL-4/IL-13 Activated Macrophages.

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International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, Cape Town Component, Cape Town, South Africa.
Division of Immunology and South African Medical Research Council Immunology of Infectious Diseases, Department of Pathology, Faculty of Health Sciences, Institute of Infectious Diseases and Molecular Medicine, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa.
Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Sciences, University of Douala, Douala, Cameroon.
RIKEN Center for Integrative Medical Sciences, Yokohama, Japan.
Institute of Natural and Mathematical Sciences, Massey University, Auckland, New Zealand.
Centre for Lung Infection and Immunity, Department of Medicine and UCT Lung Institute, Division of Pulmonology, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa.
Research Center of Biotechnology, Institute of Bioengineering, Russian Academy of Science, Moscow, Russia.
Department of Computational Biology, Vavilov Institute of General Genetics, Russian Academy of Science, Moscow, Russia.
Department of Biological and Medical Physics, Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, Dolgoprudny, Russia.
Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, Department of Immunology and Infection, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom.
Faculty of Health Sciences, Wellcome Centre for Infectious Diseases Research in Africa, Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa.


Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) can subvert the host defense by skewing macrophage activation toward a less microbicidal alternative activated state to avoid classical effector killing functions. Investigating the molecular basis of this evasion mechanism could uncover potential candidates for host directed therapy against tuberculosis (TB). A limited number of miRNAs have recently been shown to regulate host-mycobacterial interactions. Here, we performed time course kinetics experiments on bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMDMs) and human monocyte-derived macrophages (MDMs) alternatively activated with IL-4, IL-13, or a combination of IL-4/IL-13, followed by infection with Mtb clinical Beijing strain HN878. MiR-143 and miR-365 were highly induced in Mtb-infected M(IL-4/IL-13) BMDMs and MDMs. Knockdown of miR-143 and miR-365 using antagomiRs decreased the intracellular growth of Mtb HN878, reduced the production of IL-6 and CCL5 and promoted the apoptotic death of Mtb HN878-infected M(IL-4/IL-13) BMDMs. Computational target prediction identified c-Maf, Bach-1 and Elmo-1 as potential targets for both miR-143 and miR-365. Functional validation using luciferase assay, RNA-pulldown assay and Western blotting revealed that c-Maf and Bach-1 are directly targeted by miR-143 while c-Maf, Bach-1, and Elmo-1 are direct targets of miR-365. Knockdown of c-Maf using GapmeRs promoted intracellular Mtb growth when compared to control treated M(IL-4/IL-13) macrophages. Meanwhile, the blocking of Bach-1 had no effect and blocking Elmo-1 resulted in decreased Mtb growth. Combination treatment of M(IL-4/IL-13) macrophages with miR-143 mimics or miR-365 mimics and c-Maf, Bach-1, or Elmo-1 gene-specific GapmeRs restored Mtb growth in miR-143 mimic-treated groups and enhanced Mtb growth in miR-365 mimics-treated groups, thus suggesting the Mtb growth-promoting activities of miR-143 and miR-365 are mediated at least partially through interaction with c-Maf, Bach-1, and Elmo-1. We further show that knockdown of miR-143 and miR-365 in M(IL-4/IL-13) BMDMs decreased the expression of HO-1 and IL-10 which are known targets of Bach-1 and c-Maf, respectively, with Mtb growth-promoting activities in macrophages. Altogether, our work reports a host detrimental role of miR-143 and miR-365 during Mtb infection and highlights for the first time the role and miRNA-mediated regulation of c-Maf, Bach-1, and Elmo-1 in Mtb-infected M(IL-4/IL-13) macrophages.


Bach-1; CAGE transcriptomics; Elmo-1; Mycobacterium tuberculosis; alternative activated macrophages; c-Maf; microRNA-143; microRNA-365

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