Project Details


Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) is the most successful human pathogen, causing 1.8 million deaths in 2015.Accumulating evidence suggests that Mtb’s ability to survive, persist and cause disease is largely due to itsability to subvert the host immune and antimicrobial response to infection. Recent advances inimmunometabolism have shown that a metabolic shift to glycolysis, aka the Warburg effect, is critical for theactivation and differentiation of lymphocytes, dendritic cell maturation, and for M1 macrophage polarization,which is associated with microbial killing and effective control of infection. However, little is known about themetabolic state of immune cells during Mtb infection and its role in TB pathogenesis. Using transcriptomics andfluorescent IHC-assisted imaging, we found evidence for metabolic remodeling consistent with the Warburgeffect during Mtb infection of macrophages ex vivo, as well as during Mtb infection in mouse, rabbit and humanlungs. More intriguingly, we observed that infected macrophages at the center of granulomas showed decreasedWarburg effect state compared to those at the periphery, suggesting that Mtb perturbs host cell metabolic switchto impair their pro-inflammatory and antimicrobial functions. Based on these and other data in the literature, wehypothesize that Mtb perturbs the Warburg effect to dampen APC polarization and function, compromising pro-inflammatory and antimicrobial functions of adaptive immunity and dampening macrophage activation, thusfavoring the survival and persistence of the pathogen. To test our hypothesis, we propose three Specific Aims.First, we will determine the correlation between the Warburg effect state and macrophage polarization, activationand differentiation of T cells in granulomas in rabbit models of pulmonary active TB and latent infection, usingfluorescent IHC- and single molecule RNA-FISH (smFISH)-based imaging. We will also perform metabolomicanalysis of regions of granulomas at different stages of the differentiation and maturation. Second, we will perturbthe Warburg effect by commercially validated therapeutic small molecule compounds and siRNA knockdownand analyze the effects of this perturbation on the effector functions of innate and adaptive immune cells ex vivoand in a mouse model of pulmonary TB in vivo. Third, we will use RNA-Seq and IHC- and smFISH-based imagingto dissect the metabolic/Warburg effect determinants responsible for the establishment of latency and for thereactivation. We will also characterize the effects of Warburg effect perturbation by small molecule therapeuticcompounds on the host immune response and Mtb growth dynamics in a rabbit latency model. By elucidatingthe correlation between the Warburg effect and the functional potential of host innate and adaptive immunity inTB and its association with infection outcome, this study will establish an understanding of a novel aspect of Mtbpathogenicity. Outcomes of this study may lead to the development of host-directed therapies to targetmetabolism of immune cells to enhance their antimicrobial responses, facilitating efforts to control and eradicatethis deadly disease.!
Effective start/end date6/6/175/31/22


  • National Institutes of Health (NIH)

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