Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) induces vigorous immune responses, yet persists inside macrophages, evading host immunity. MTB bacilli or lysate was found to inhibit macrophage expression of class II MHC (MHC-II) molecules and MHC-II Ag processing. This report characterizes and identifies a specific component of MTB that mediates these inhibitory effects. The inhibitor was extracted from MTB lysate with Triton X-114, isolated by gel electroelution, and identified with Abs to be MTB 19-kDa lipoprotein. Electroelution- or immunoaffinity-purified MTB 19-kDa lipoprotein inhibited MHC-II expression and processing of both soluble Ags and Ag 85B from intact MTB bacilli. Inhibition of MHC-II Ag processing by either MTB bacilli or purified MTB 19-kDa lipoprotein was dependent on Toll-like receptor (TLR) 2 and independent of TLR 4. Synthetic analogs of lipopeptides from Treponema pallidum also inhibited Ag processing. Despite the ability of MTB 19-kDa lipoprotein to activate microbicidal and innate immune functions early in infection, TLR 2-dependent inhibition of MHC-II expression and Ag processing by MTB 19-kDa lipoprotein during later phases of macrophage infection may prevent presentation of MTB Ags and decrease recognition by T cells. This mechanism may allow intracellular MTB to evade immune surveillance and maintain chronic infection.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy