Human Conjunctival Transcriptome Analysis Reveals the Prominence of Innate Defense in Chlamydia trachomatis Infection

Angels Natividad, Tom C. Freeman, David Jeffries, Matthew J. Burton, David C. W. Mabey, Robin L. Bailey, Martin J. Holland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Trachoma is the leading infectious cause of blindness and is endemic in 52 countries. There is a critical need to further our understanding of the host response during disease and infection, as millions of individuals are still at risk of developing blinding sequelae. Infection of the conjunctival epithelial cells by the causative bacterium, Chlamydia trachomatis, stimulates an acute host response. The main clinical feature is a follicular conjunctivitis that is incompletely defined at the tissue-specific gene expression and molecular levels. To explore the features of disease and the response to infection, we measured host gene expression in conjunctival samples from Gambian children with active trachoma and healthy controls. Genome-wide expression and transcription network analysis identified signatures characteristic of the expected infiltrating immune cell populations, such as neutrophils and T/B lymphocytes. The expression signatures were also significantly enriched for genes in pathways which regulate NK cell activation and cytotoxicity, antigen processing and presentation, chemokines, cytokines, and cytokine receptors. The data suggest that in addition to polymorph and adaptive cellular responses, NK cells may contribute to a significant component of the conjunctival inflammatory response to chlamydial infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4895-4911
Number of pages17
JournalInfection and Immunity
Volume78
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2010

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