Systems Analysis of Early Host Gene Expression Provides Clues for Transient Mycobacterium avium ssp avium vs. Persistent Mycobacterium avium ssp paratuberculosis Intestinal Infections.
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It has long been a quest in ruminants to understand how two very similar mycobacterial species, Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis (MAP) and Mycobacterium avium ssp. avium (MAA) lead to either a chronic persistent infection or a rapid-transient infection, respectively. Here, we hypothesized that when the host immune response is activated by MAP or MAA, the outcome of the infection depends on the early activation of signaling molecules and host temporal gene expression. To test our hypothesis, ligated jejuno-ileal loops including Peyer's patches in neonatal calves were inoculated with PBS, MAP, or MAA. A temporal analysis of the host transcriptome profile was conducted at several times post-infection (0.5, 1, 2, 4, 8 and 12 hours). When comparing the transcriptional responses of calves infected with the MAA versus MAP, discordant patterns of mucosal expression were clearly evident, and the numbers of unique transcripts altered were moderately less for MAA-infected tissue than were mucosal tissues infected with the MAP. To interpret these complex data, changes in the gene expression were further analyzed by dynamic Bayesian analysis. Bayesian network modeling identified mechanistic genes, gene-to-gene relationships, pathways and Gene Ontologies (GO) biological processes that are involved in specific cell activation during infection. MAP and MAA had significant different pathway perturbation at 0.5 and 12 hours post inoculation. Inverse processes were observed between MAP and MAA response for epithelial cell proliferation, negative regulation of chemotaxis, cell-cell adhesion mediated by integrin and regulation of cytokine-mediated signaling. MAP inoculated tissue had significantly lower expression of phagocytosis receptors such as mannose receptor and complement receptors. This study reveals that perturbation of genes and cellular pathways during MAP infection resulted in host evasion by mucosal membrane barrier weakening to access entry in the ileum, inhibition of Ca signaling associated with decreased phagosome-lysosome fusion as well as phagocytosis inhibition, bias toward Th2 cell immune response accompanied by cell recruitment, cell proliferation and cell differentiation; leading to persistent infection. Contrarily, MAA infection was related to cellular responses associated with activation of molecular pathways that release chemicals and cytokines involved with containment of infection and a strong bias toward Th1 immune response, resulting in a transient infection.