The innate immune system of humans recognizes the human pathogenic fungus Candida albicans via sugar polymers present in the cell wall, such as mannan and β-glucan. Here, we examined whether nucleic acids from C. albicans activate dendritic cells. C. albicans DNA induced interleukin-12p40 (IL-12p40) production and CD40 expression by murine bone marrow-derived myeloid dendritic cells (BM-DCs) in a dose-dependent manner. BM-DCs that lacked Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4), TLR2, and dectin-1, which are pattern recognition receptors for fungal cell wall components, produced IL-12p40 at levels comparable to the levels produced by BM-DCs from wild-type mice, and DNA from a C. albicans pmr1Δ null mutant, which has a gross defect in mannosylation, retained the ability to activate BM-DCs. This stimulatory effect disappeared completely after DNase treatment. In contrast, RNase treatment increased production of the cytokine. A similar reduction in cytokine production was observed when BM-DCs from TLR9-/- and MyD88-/- mice were used. In a luciferase reporter assay, NF-κB activation was detected in TLR9-expressing HEK293T cells stimulated with C. albicans DNA. Confocal microscopic analysis showed similar localization of C. albicans DNA and CpG-oligodeoxynucleotide (CpG-ODN) in BM-DCs. Treatment of C. albicans DNA with methylase did not affect its ability to induce IL-12p40 synthesis, whereas the same treatment completely eliminated the ability of CpG-ODN to induce IL-12p40 synthesis. Finally, impaired clearance of this fungal pathogen was not found in the kidneys of TLR9-/- mice. These results suggested that C. albicans DNA activated BM-DCs through a TLR9-mediated signaling pathway using a mechanism independent of the unmethylated CpG motif.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases