The signaling pathways activated following interaction between dendritic cells (DCs) and a pathogen determine the polarization of effector T-cell and regulatory T-cell (Treg) responses to the infection. Several recent studies, mostly in the context of bacterial infections, have shown that the Wnt/b-catenin pathway plays a major role in imparting tolerogenic features in DCs and in promotion of Treg responses. However, the significance of the Wnt/b-catenin pathway's involvement in regulating the immune response to the fungal species is not known. Using Aspergillus fumigatus, a ubiquitous airborne opportunistic fungal species, we show here that fungi activate the Wnt/b-catenin pathway in human DCs and are critical for mediating the immunosuppressive Treg responses. Pharmacological inhibition of this pathway in DCs led to inhibition of maturation-associated molecules and interleukin 10 (IL-10) secretion without affecting the majority of the inflammatory cytokines. Furthermore, blockade of Wnt signaling in DCs suppressed DC-mediated Treg responses in CD41 T cells and downregulated both tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-a) and IL-10 responses in CD81 T cells. Mechanistically, induction of b-catenin pathway by A. fumigatus required C-type lectin receptors and promoted Treg polarization via the induction of programmed death-ligand 1 on DCs. Further investigation on the identity of fungal molecular patterns has revealed that the cell wall polysaccharides b-(1, 3)-glucan and a-(1, 3)-glucan, but not chitin, possess the capacity to activate the b-catenin pathway. Our data suggest that the Wnt/b-catenin pathway is a potential therapeutic target to selectively suppress the Treg response and to sustain the protective Th1 response in the context of invasive aspergillosis caused by A. fumigatus.
|Original language||English (US)|
|State||Published - Dec 1 2021|
- Aspergillus fumigatus
- Dendritic cells
- Regulatory T cells
- Wnt signaling
ASJC Scopus subject areas