Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinase (PI3K) Orchestrates Aspergillus fumigatus-Induced Eosinophil Activation Independently of Canonical Toll-Like Receptor (TLR)/C-Type-Lectin Receptor (CLR) Signaling

mBio. 2022 Jun 13:e0123922. doi: 10.1128/mbio.01239-22. Online ahead of print.

ABSTRACT

Eosinophilia is associated with various persisting inflammatory diseases and often coincides with chronic fungal infections or fungal allergy as in the case of allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA). Here, we show that intranasal administration of live Aspergillus fumigatus conidia causes fatal lung damage in eosinophilic interleukin-5 (IL-5)-transgenic mice. To further investigate the activation of eosinophils by A. fumigatus, we established a coculture system of mouse bone marrow-derived eosinophils (BMDE) with different A. fumigatus morphotypes and analyzed the secretion of cytokines, chemokines, and eicosanoids. A. fumigatus-stimulated BMDE upregulated expression of CD11b and downregulated CD62L and CCR3. They further secreted several proinflammatory mediators, including IL-4, IL-13, IL-18, macrophage inflammatory protein-1α (MIP-1α)/CC chemokine ligand 3 (CCL3), MIP-1β/CCL4, and thromboxane. This effect required direct interaction and adherence between eosinophils and A. fumigatus, as A. fumigatus culture supernatants or A. fumigatus mutant strains with impaired adhesion elicited a rather poor eosinophil response. Unexpectedly, canonical Toll-like receptor (TLR) or C-type-lectin receptor (CLR) signaling was largely dispensable, as the absence of MYD88, TRIF, or caspase recruitment domain-containing protein 9 (CARD9) resulted in only minor alterations. However, transcriptome analysis indicated a role for the PI3K-AKT-mTOR pathway in A. fumigatus-induced eosinophil activation. Correspondingly, we could show that phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) inhibitors successfully prevent A. fumigatus-induced eosinophil activation. The PI3K pathway in eosinophils may therefore serve as a potential drug target to interfere with undesired eosinophil activation in fungus-elicited eosinophilic disorders. IMPORTANCE Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA) is caused by the fungus Aspergillus fumigatus, afflicts about five million patients globally, and is still a noncurable disease. ABPA is associated with pronounced lung eosinophilia. Activated eosinophils enhance the inflammatory response not only by degranulation of toxic proteins but also by secretion of small effector molecules. Receptors and signaling pathways involved in activation of eosinophils by A. fumigatus are currently unknown. Here, we show that A. fumigatus-elicited activation of eosinophils requires direct cell-cell contact and results in modulation of cell surface markers and rapid secretion of cytokines, chemokines, and lipid mediators. Unexpectedly, this activation occurred independently of canonical Toll-like receptor or C-type lectin receptor signaling. However, transcriptome analysis indicated a role for the PI3K-AKT-mTOR pathway, and PI3K inhibitors successfully prevented A. fumigatus-induced eosinophil activation. The PI3K pathway may therefore serve as a potential drug target to interfere with undesired eosinophil activation in fungus-elicited eosinophilic disorders.

PMID:35695427 | DOI:10.1128/mbio.01239-22

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