Chitinases in Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia

Leah R. Villegas, Theodore J. Kottom, Andrew H. Limper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Pneumocystis pneumonia remains an important complication of immune suppression. The cell wall of Pneumocystis has been demonstrated to potently stimulate host inflammatory responses, with most studies focusing on β-glucan components of the Pneumocystis cell wall. In the current study, we have elaborated the potential role of chitins and chitinases in Pneumocystis pneumonia. We demonstrated differential host mammalian chitinase expression during Pneumocystis pneumonia. We further characterized a chitin synthase gene in Pneumocystis carinii termed Pcchs5, a gene with considerable homolog to the fungal chitin biosynthesis protein Chs5. We also observed the impact of chitinase digestion on Pneumocystis-induced host inflammatory responses by measuring TNFα release and mammalian chitinase expression by cultured lung epithelial and macrophage cells stimulated with Pneumocystis cell wall isolates in the presence and absence of exogenous chitinase digestion. These findings provide evidence supporting a chitin biosynthetic pathway in Pneumocystis organisms and that chitinases modulate inflammatory responses in lung cells. We further demonstrate lung expression of chitinase molecules during Pneumocystis pneumonia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)337-348
Number of pages12
JournalMedical Microbiology and Immunology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2012


  • Acidic mammalian chitinase
  • Cell wall
  • Chitin
  • Chitinase
  • Chitotriosidase
  • Chs5
  • Pneumocystis carinii

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Microbiology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Chitinases in Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this