Pathogenic mycobacterial organisms have the capacity to inhibit macrophage activation and phagosome maturation. Although the mechanism is complex, several studies have incriminated signaling through TLR2 receptors with subsequent activation of the MAPK pathway p38 (MAPKp38) and overproduction of IL-10 in the survival of pathogenic mycobacterial organisms. In the present study, we compared the response of bovine monocytes with infection by Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP), the cause of paratuberculosis in ruminants, with the closely related organism M. avium subspecies avium (Maa), which usually does not cause disease in ruminants. Both MAP and Maa induced phosphorylation of MAPKp38 by bovine monocytes; however, addition of a blocking anti-TLR2 antibody partially prevented MAPKp38 phosphorylation of MAP-infected monocytes but not Maa-infected monocytes. Addition of anti-TLR2 antibody enhanced phagosome acidification and phagosome-lysosome fusion in MAP-containing phagosomes and enabled monocytes to kill MAP organisms. These changes were not observed in Maa-infected monocytes. The effect on phagosome maturation appears to occur independently from the previously described inhibitory effects of IL-10 on phagosome acidification and organism killing, as IL-10 production was not affected by addition of anti-TLR2 antibody to monocyte cultures. Therefore, signaling through the TLR2 receptor appears to play a role in phagosome trafficking and antimicrobial responses in MAP-infected bovine mononuclear phagocytes.
- Bacterial killing
- Innate immunity