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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Exploitation of interleukin-8-induced neutrophil chemotaxis by the agent of human granulocytic ehrlichiosis.

The agent of human granulocytic ehrlichiosis (HGE) is an obligate intracellular bacterium with a tropism for neutrophils; however, the mechanisms of bacterial dissemination are not yet understood. Interleukin-8 (IL-8) is a chemokine that induces neutrophil migration to sites of infection for host defense against pathogens. We now show that HGE bacteria, and the HGE-44 protein, induce IL-8 secretion in a promyelocytic (HL-60) cell line that has been differentiated along the neutrophil lineage with retinoic acid and in neutrophils. Infected HL-60 cells also demonstrate upregulation of CXCR2, an IL-8 receptor, but not CXCR1. Human neutrophils migrate towards Ehrlichia sp.-infected cells in a chemotaxis chamber assay, and this movement can be blocked with antibodies to IL-8. Finally, immunocompetent and severe combined immunodeficient mice administered CXCR2 antisera, and CXCR2(-/-) mice that lack the human IL-8 receptor homologue, are much less susceptible to granulocytic ehrlichiosis than are control animals. These results demonstrate that HGE bacteria induce IL-8 production by host cells and, paradoxically, appear to exploit this chemokine to enhance infection.[1]


  1. Exploitation of interleukin-8-induced neutrophil chemotaxis by the agent of human granulocytic ehrlichiosis. Akkoyunlu, M., Malawista, S.E., Anguita, J., Fikrig, E. Infect. Immun. (2001) [Pubmed]
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