Recognition of intracellular bacteria by macrophages leads to secretion of type I IFNs. However, the role of type I IFN during bacterial infection is still poorly understood. Francisella tularensis, the causative agent of tularemia, is a pathogenic bacterium that replicates in the cytosol of macrophages leading to secretion of type I IFN. In this study, we investigated the role of type I IFNs in a mouse model of tularemia. Mice deficient for type I IFN receptor (IFNAR1-/-) are more resistant to intradermal infection with F. tularensis subspecies novicida (F. novicida). Increased resistance to infection was associated with a specific increase in IL-17A/F and a corresponding expansion of an IL-17A+ γδ T cell population, indicating that type I IFNs negatively regulate the number of IL-17A+ γδ T cells during infection. Furthermore, IL-17A-deficient mice contained fewer neutrophils compared with wild-type mice during infection, indicating that IL-17A contributes to neutrophil expansion during F. novicida infection. Accordingly, an increase in IL-17A in IFNAR1-/- mice correlated with an increase in splenic neutrophil numbers. Similar results were obtained in a mouse model of pneumonic tularemia using the highly virulent F. tularensis subspecies tularensis SchuS4 strain and in a mouse model of systemic Listeria monocytogenes infection. Our results indicate that the type I IFN-mediated negative regulation of IL-17A+ γδ T cell expansion is conserved during bacterial infections. We propose that this newly described activity of type I IFN signaling might participate in the resistance of the IFNAR1-/- mice to infection with F. novicida and other intracellular bacteria.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Immunology and Allergy