Trehalose 6,6'-dimycolate promotes the survival of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in murine macrophages

Celestine Wing-Wah Kan-Sutton, The University of Texas Grad. Sch. of Biomed. Sci. at Houston


The survival of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) in macrophages largely plays upon its ability to manipulate the host immune response to its benefit. Trehalose 6,6'-dimycolate (TDM) is a glycolipid found abundantly on the surface of MTB. Preliminary studies have shown that MTB lacking TDM have a lower survival rate compared to wild-type MTB in infection experiments, and that lysosomal colocalization with the phagosome occurs more readily in delipidated MTB infections. The purpose of this dissertation is to identify the possible mechanistic roles of TDM and its importance to the survival of MTB in macrophages. Our hypothesis is that TDM promotes the survival of MTB by targeting specific immune functions in host macrophages. Our first specific aim is to evaluate the effects of TDM on MTB in surface marker expression and antigen presentation in macrophages. We characterized the surface marker response in murine macrophages infected with either TDM-intact or TDM-removed MTB. We found that the presence of TDM on MTB inhibited the expression of surface markers which are important for antigen presentation and costimulation to T cells. Then we measured and compared the ability of macrophages infected by MTB with or without TDM to present Antigen 85B to hybridoma T cells. Macrophages infected with TDM-intact MTB were found to be less efficient at antigen presentation than TDM-removed MTB. Our second aim is to identify molecular mechanisms which may be targeted by TDM to promote MTB survival in macrophages. We measured macrophage responsiveness to IFN-γ before or after MTB infection and correlated SOCS production to the presence of TDM on MTB. Macrophages infected with TDM-intact MTB were found to be less responsive to IFN-γ. This may be attributed to the TDM-driven production of SOCS, which was found to affect phosphorylation of the JAK-STAT signaling pathway. We also identified the importance of TLR2 and TLR4 in the initiation of SOCS by TDM-intact MTB in host macrophages. In conclusion, our studies reveal new insights into how TDM regulates macrophages and their immune functions to aid in the survival of MTB.^

Subject Area

Biology, Animal Physiology|Health Sciences, Pathology|Health Sciences, Immunology

Recommended Citation

Kan-Sutton, Celestine Wing-Wah, "Trehalose 6,6'-dimycolate promotes the survival of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in murine macrophages" (2009). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3353992.