Talaromyces marneffei promotes M2-like polarization of human macrophages by downregulating SOCS3 expression and activating the TLR9 pathway.
Little is known about how Talaromyces marneffei, a thermally dimorphic fungus that causes substantial morbidity and mortality in Southeast Asia, evades the human immune system. Polarization of macrophages into fungal-inhibiting M1-like and fungal-promoting M2-like types has been shown to play an important role in the innate immune response against fungal pathogens. This mechanism has not been defined for T. marneffei. Here, we demonstrated that T. marneffei promotes its survival in human macrophages by inducing them toward M2-like polarization. Our investigations of the mechanism revealed that T. marneffei infection led to SOCS3 protein degradation by inducing tyrosine phosphorylation, thereby relieving the inhibitory effect of SOCS3 on p-STAT6, a key factor for M2-like polarization. Our SOCS3-overexpression experiments showed that SOCS3 is a positive regulator of M1-like polarization and plays an important role in limiting M2-like polarization. Furthermore, we found that inhibition of the TLR9 pathway partially blocked T. marneffei-induced M2-like polarization and significantly enhanced the killing activity of macrophages against T. marneffei. Collectively, these results reveal a novel mechanism by which T. marneffei evades the immune response of human macrophages.
Wei, W; Ning, C; Huang, J; Wang, G; Lai, J; Han, J; He, J; Zhang, H; Liang, B; Liao, Y; Le, T; Luo, Q; Li, Z; Jiang, J; Ye, L; Liang, H
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