Author(s): Cote CK, DiMezzo TL, Banks DJ, France B, Bradley KA,
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Abstract The role of macrophages in the pathogenesis of anthrax is unresolved. Macrophages are believed to support the initiation of infection by Bacillus anthracis spores, yet are also sporicidal. Furthermore, it is believed that the anthrax toxins suppress normal macrophage function. However, the significance of toxin effects on macrophages has not been addressed in an in vivo infection model. We used mutant derivatives of murine macrophage RAW264.7 cells that are toxin receptor-negative (R3D) to test the role of toxin-targeting of macrophages during a challenge with spores of the Ames strain of B. anthracis in both in vivo and in vitro models. We found that the R3D cells were able to control challenge with Ames when mice were inoculated with the cells prior to spore challenge. These findings were confirmed in vitro by high dose spore infection of macrophages. Interestingly, whereas the R3D cells provided a significantly greater survival advantage against spores than did the wild type RAW264.7 cells or R3D-complemented cells, the protection afforded the mutant and wild type cells was equivalent against a bacillus challenge. The findings appear to be the first specific test of the role of toxin targeting of macrophages during infection with B. anthracis spores.
This article was published in Microbes Infect
and referenced in Journal of Microbial & Biochemical Technology