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Genome-Wide RNAi Screen in IFN-γ-Treated Human Macrophages Identifies Genes Mediating Resistance to the Intracellular Pathogen Francisella tularensis

Authors
Journal
PLoS ONE
1932-6203
Publisher
Public Library of Science
Publication Date
Volume
7
Issue
2
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0031752
Keywords
  • Research Article
  • Biology
  • Genomics
  • Genome Analysis Tools
  • Immunology
  • Immunity
  • Microbiology
  • Medicine
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Bacterial Diseases
  • Veterinary Science
  • Veterinary Diseases
  • Zoonotic Diseases
Disciplines
  • Medicine

Abstract

Interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) inhibits intracellular replication of Francisella tularensis in human monocyte-derived macrophages (HMDM) and in mice, but the mechanisms of this protective effect are poorly characterized. We used genome-wide RNA interference (RNAi) screening in the human macrophage cell line THP-1 to identify genes that mediate the beneficial effects of IFN-γ on F. tularensis infection. A primary screen identified ∼200 replicated candidate genes. These were prioritized according to mRNA expression in IFN-γ-primed and F. tularensis-challenged macrophages. A panel of 20 top hits was further assessed by re-testing using individual shRNAs or siRNAs in THP-1 cells, HMDMs and primary human lung macrophages. Six of eight validated genes tested were also found to confer resistance to Listeria monocytogenes infection, suggesting a broadly shared host gene program for intracellular pathogens. The F. tularensis-validated hits included ‘druggable’ targets such as TNFRSF9, which encodes CD137. Treating HMDM with a blocking antibody to CD137 confirmed a beneficial role of CD137 in macrophage clearance of F. tularensis. These studies reveal a number of important mediators of IFN-γ activated host defense against intracellular pathogens, and implicate CD137 as a potential therapeutic target and regulator of macrophage interactions with Francisella tularensis.

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