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Title: An Infection-Tolerant Mammalian Reservoir for Several Zoonotic Agents Broadly Counters the Inflammatory Effects of Endotoxin
ABSTRACT Animals that are competent reservoirs of zoonotic pathogens commonly suffer little morbidity from the infections. To investigate mechanisms of this tolerance of infection, we used single-dose lipopolysaccharide (LPS) as an experimental model of inflammation and compared the responses of two rodents: Peromyscus leucopus , the white-footed deermouse and reservoir for the agents of Lyme disease and other zoonoses, and the house mouse Mus musculus . Four hours after injection with LPS or saline, blood, spleen, and liver samples were collected and subjected to transcriptome sequencing (RNA-seq), metabolomics, and specific reverse transcriptase quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR). Differential expression analysis was at the gene, pathway, and network levels. LPS-treated deermice showed signs of sickness similar to those of exposed mice and had similar increases in corticosterone levels and expression of interleukin 6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor, IL-1β, and C-reactive protein. By network analysis, the M. musculus response to LPS was characterized as cytokine associated, while the P. leucopus response was dominated by neutrophil activity terms. In addition, dichotomies in the expression levels of arginase 1 and nitric oxide synthase 2 and of IL-10 and IL-12 were consistent with type M1 macrophage responses in mice and type M2 responses in deermice. Analysis of more » metabolites in plasma and RNA in organs revealed species differences in tryptophan metabolism. Two genes in particular signified the different phenotypes of deermice and mice: the Slpi and Ibsp genes. Key RNA-seq findings for P. leucopus were replicated in older animals, in a systemic bacterial infection, and with cultivated fibroblasts. The findings indicate that P. leucopus possesses several adaptive traits to moderate inflammation in its balancing of infection resistance and tolerance. IMPORTANCE Animals that are natural carriers of pathogens that cause human diseases commonly manifest little or no sickness as a consequence of infection. Examples include the deermouse, Peromyscus leucopus , which is a reservoir for Lyme disease and several other disease agents in North America, and some types of bats, which are carriers of viruses with pathogenicity for humans. Mechanisms of this phenomenon of infection tolerance and entailed trade-off costs are poorly understood. Using a single injection of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) endotoxin as a proxy for infection, we found that deermice differed from the mouse ( Mus musculus ) in responses to LPS in several diverse pathways, including innate immunity, oxidative stress, and metabolism. Features distinguishing the deermice cumulatively would moderate downstream ill effects of LPS. Insights gained from the P. leucopus model in the laboratory have implications for studying infection tolerance in other important reservoir species, including bats and other types of wildlife. « less
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Miller, Samuel I.
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National Science Foundation
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