Unique gene expression profiles of human macrophages and dendritic cells to phylogenetically distinct parasites

Damien J. Chaussabel, Roshanak Tolouei Semnani, Mary Ann McDowell, David Sacks, Alan Sher, Thomas B. Nutman

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247 Citations (Scopus)


Monocyte-derived dendritic cells (DCs) and macrophages (Mφs) generated in vitro from the same individual blood donors were exposed to 5 different pathogens, and gene expression profiles were assessed by microarray analysis. Responses to Mycobacterium tuberculosis and to phylogenetically distinct protozoan (Leishmania major, Leishmania donovani, Toxoplasma gondii) and helminth (Brugia malayi) parasites were examined, each of which produces chronic infections in humans yet vary considerably in the nature of the immune responses they trigger. In the absence of microbial stimulation, DCs and Mφs constitutively expressed approximately 4000 genes, 96% of which were shared between the 2 cell types. In contrast, the genes altered transcriptionally in DCs and Mφs following pathogen exposure were largely cell specific. Profiling of the gene expression data led to the identification of sets of tightly coregulated genes across all experimental conditions tested. A newly devised literature-based clustering algorithm enabled the identification of functionally and transcriptionally homogenous groups of genes. A comparison of the responses induced by the individual pathogens by means of this strategy revealed major differences in the functionally related gene profiles associated with each infectious agent. Although the intracellular pathogens induced responses clearly distinct from the extracellular B malayi, they each displayed a unique pattern of gene expression that would not necessarily be predicted on the basis of their phylogenetic relationship. The association of characteristic functional clusters with each infectious agent is consistent with the concept that antigen-presenting cells have prewired signaling patterns for use in the response to different pathogens.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)672-681
Number of pages10
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2003
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Biochemistry
  • Hematology
  • Cell Biology

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