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

Francisella tularensis Induces IL-23 Production in Human Monocytes.

Francisella tularensis, the causative agent of tularemia, is phagocytosed by immune cells such as monocytes and macrophages. Instead of being destroyed in the phagolysosome, the bacterium escapes the phagosome and replicates within the host cytosol. Recent studies indicate that phagosomal escape may have a major impact on the nature of the inflammatory cytokine response to infection. To better understand the host cell response to Francisella infection, we exposed human peripheral blood monocytes to Francisella novicida and analyzed transcriptional changes using high-density oligonucleotide microarrays. Results showed a nearly 300-fold up-regulation of transcripts for the p19 subunit of IL-23, and a nearly 18-fold up-regulation for the p40 subunit of IL-12. IL-23 is formed by the heterodimerization of p19 and p40, and is an important cytokine of the innate immune response. Up-regulation of p19 and p40 was confirmed at the protein level by Western blotting and ELISA analyses, and was found to be largely dependent on PI3K and NF-kappaB activity. Studies using medium from infected monocytes with or without a p19 blocking Ab showed that the secreted IL-23 induced IFN-gamma production from NK cells, suggesting a potential biologically important role for IL-23 in host defense. Finally, infection of human monocytes by the highly virulent Francisella SCHU S4 strain likewise led to IL-23 production, suggesting that the IL-23 response may be relevant during tularemia.[1]


  1. Francisella tularensis Induces IL-23 Production in Human Monocytes. Butchar, J.P., Rajaram, M.V., Ganesan, L.P., Parsa, K.V., Clay, C.D., Schlesinger, L.S., Tridandapani, S. J. Immunol. (2007) [Pubmed]
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