Neutrophils and macrophages are professional phagocytic cells that play a crucial role in host defense against invading microorganisms. They bind to, internalize, and subsequently kill microbes with an arsenal of reactive oxygen metabolites and microbicidal agents. The microbes are recognized by cell surface receptors, mainly by the phagocytic receptors FcγR and complement receptor 3 (CR3) that recognize IgG and complement fragments C3b/C3bi, respectively. Microbial pathogens such as Salmonella typhimurium have developed sophisticated mechanisms to avoid the host defense system and enter the cells by invasion, mediated by a type III secretion system.
The objective of this thesis was to investigate the signaling pathways during receptor-mediated phagocytosis by FcγRIIa, FcγRIIIb and complement receptor 3 (CR3), or during invasion by Salmonella typhimurium in human phagocytic cells. We have focused on the intracellular signaling pathways controlling phagocytosis, production of reactive oxygen metabolites, and apoptosis. Paper I-III focus on signal transduction events triggered after ligation of CR3, FcγRIIa, and FcγRIIIb in human neutrophils. Both activation of CR3 and FcγR induced production of reactive oxygen metabolites (ROM), where CR3 induced the most prominent response. The ROM production was dependent on intracellular Ca2+, tyrosine kinase activation, and phospholipase D (PLD) activity. FcγRIIa induced a strong phosphorylation Syk, which was less pronounced following FcγRIIIb ligation, and absent after CR3 activation. Our data indicate that CR3 and FcγR activate different signaling pathways. By exposing neutrophils to TNF-α prior to ligation of CR3, the oxidative response was strongly enhanced, whereas the response to FcγR-ligation was unaffected. This increase was in part due to a p38 MAPK-dependent upregulation of CR3 on the cell surface, but also due to modulation of intracellular signaling pathways since Syk was activated by CR3 as well as FcγR in TNF-α treated cells. In contrast to macrophages where only FcγR activates Rac, Cdc42, and the subsequent ROM production, we show that CR3 as well as FcγR activate the GTPases Rac2 and Cdc42 in human neutrophils. Their downstream target p21 activated kinase was also activated, and Rac2 translocated to the membrane fraction. Correct function of these small GTP-binding proteins was necessary for generating a proper signal for ROM production in these cells.
One survival strategy exploited by microbial pathogens might be to induce apoptosis of tbe host. Invasive Salmonella typhimurium efficiently entered U937 cells and induced a pronounced degree of apoptosis in contrast to its opsonized mutants, which were internalized by receptor-mediated phagocytosis but failed to induce apoptosis. Invasion by Salmonella typhimurium activated Rac1 and Cdc42 independently of PI3 K and tyrosine kinase activation. Inhibition of Racl and Cdc42 inhibited both invasion and the induction of apoptosis. Receptor-mediated phagocytosis activated the survival signals Akt/PKB which protected the cells from apoptosis. Thus, control of apoptosis is a fine tuned balance between pro- and anti-apoptotic signaling proteins.
Linköping: Linköpings universitet , 2003. , 58 p.