Single-Cell Transcriptional Heterogeneity of Neutrophils During Acute Pulmonary Cryptococcus neoformans Infection.
Neutrophils are critical as the first-line defense against fungal pathogens. Yet, previous studies indicate that neutrophil function is complex during Cryptococcus neoformans (Cn) infection. To better understand the role of neutrophils in acute pulmonary cryptococcosis, we analyzed neutrophil heterogeneity by single-cell transcriptional analysis of immune cells in the lung of Cn-infected mice from a published dataset. We identified neutrophils by reference-based annotation and identified two distinct neutrophil subsets generated during acute Cn infection: A subset with an oxidative stress signature (Ox-PMN) and another with enhanced cytokine gene expression (Cyt-PMN). Based on gene regulatory network and ligand-receptor analysis, we hypothesize that Ox-PMNs interact with the fungus and generate ROS, while Cyt-PMNs are longer-lived neutrophils that indirectly respond to Cn-derived ligands and cytokines to modulate cell-cell communication with dendritic cells and alveolar macrophages. Based on the data, we hypothesized that, during in vivo fungal infection, there is a division of labor in which each activated neutrophil becomes either Ox-PMN or Cyt-PMN.
Deerhake, ME; Reyes, EY; Xu-Vanpala, S; Shinohara, ML
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