Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
Macrophage cells play a central role during infection with Listeria monocytogenes by both providing a major habitat for bacterial multiplication and presenting bacterial antigens to the immune system. In this study, we investigated the influence of L. monocytogenes infection on the expression of MHC class I and class II genes in two murine macrophage cell lines. Steady-state levels of I-Aβ chain mRNA were decreased in both resting J774A.1 and P388D1 macrophages infected with L. monocytogenes whereas reduction of H-2K mRNA was only observed in P388D1 cells. In addition, L. monocytogenes suppressed induction of MHC class I and class II mRNAs in response to γ-interferon as well as the maintenance of the induced state in activated P388D1 macrophages. Exposure to the non-pathogenic species L. innocua or a deletion mutant of L. monocytogenes, which lacks the lecithinase operon, did not cause a reduction in H-2K and I-Aβ mRNA levels nor suppress expression of Ia antigens. Inhibition of MHC gene expression may represent an important part of the cross-talk between L. monocytogenes and the macrophage that probably influences the efficiency of a T cell-mediated immune response and thus the outcome of a listerial infection.
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