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Identification of novel factors involved in the exacerbation of HIV-1 infection and spread among macrophages in the tuberculosis context

  • Dupont, Maeva
Publication Date
Dec 06, 2019
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Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), the bacteria causing tuberculosis (TB), and the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1), the etiological agent of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), act in synergy to exacerbate the progression of each other in co-infected patients. While clinical evidence reveals a frequent increase of the viral load at co-infected anatomical sites, the mechanisms explaining how Mtb favours HIV-1 progression remain insufficiently understood. Macrophages are the main target for Mtb. Their infection by the bacilli likely shapes the microenvironment that favours HIV-1 infection and replication at sites of co-infection. To address this issue, I took advantage of an in vitro model mimicking the TB-associated microenvironment (cmMTB, "conditioned media of Mtb-infected macrophages") previously established in the laboratory; a model that renders macrophages susceptible to intracellular pathogens like Mtb. Upon joining the team, I participated in the study on how Mtb exacerbates HIV-1 replication in macrophages, using this model. We found that cmMTB-treated macrophages (M(cmMTB)) have an enhanced ability to form intercellular membrane bridges called tunneling nanotubes (TNT), which increase the capacity of the virus to transfer from one macrophage to another, leading to the exacerbation of HIV-1 production and spread. The principal objective of my PhD thesis was to identify novel factors that are involved in the exacerbation of HIV-1 replication in macrophages in the context of tuberculosis. To this end, a transcriptomic analysis of M(cmMTB) was conducted, and revealed two key factors: the Siglec-1 receptor and type I interferon (IFN-I)/STAT1 signaling. The first part of my PhD thesis dealt with the characterization of Siglec-1 as a novel factor involved in the synergy between Mtb and HIV-1 in macrophages. First, I demonstrated that its increased expression in M(cmMTB) was dependent on IFN-I. Second, in Mtb and simian immunodeficiency virus co-infected non-human primates, I established a positive correlation between the abundance of Siglec-1+ alveolar macrophages and the pathology, associated with the activation of the IFN-I/STAT-1 pathway. [...]

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