The glycosyl-inositol-phosphate and dimyristoylglycerol moieties of the glycosylphosphatidylinositol anchor of the trypanosome variant-specific surface glycoprotein are distinct macrophage-activating factors

Stefan Magez, Benoit Stijlemans, Magdalena Radwanska, Etienne Pays, Michael A. J. Ferguson, Patrick De Baetselier

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    The TNF-alpha-inducing capacity of different trypanosome components was analyzed in vitro, using as indicator cells a macrophage cell line (2C11/12) or peritoneal exudate cells from LPS-resistant C3H/HeJ mice and LPS-sensitive C3H/HeN mite. The variant-specific surface glycoprotein (VSG) was identified as the major TNF-alpha-inducing component present in trypanosome-soluble extracts. Both soluble (sVSG) and membrane-bound VSG (mfVSG) were shown to manifest similar TNF-alpha-inducing capacities, indicating that the dimyristoylglycerol (DMG) compound of the mfVSG anchor was not required for TNF-alpha triggering. Detailed analysis indicated that the glycosyl-inositol-phosphate (GIP) moiety was responsible for the TNF-alpha-inducing activity of VSG and that the presence of the GIP-associatcd galactose side chain was essential for optimal TNF-alpha production. Furthermore, the results showed that the responsiveness of macrophages toward the TNF-alpha-inducing activity of VSG was strictly dependent on the activation state of the macrophages, since resident macrophages required IFN-gamma preactivation to become responsive, Comparative analysis of the ability of both forms of VSG to activate macrophages revealed that mfVSG but not sVSG stimulates macrophages toward IL-1 alpha secretion and acquisition of LPS responsiveness. The priming activity of mfVSG toward LPS responsiveness was also demonstrated in vivo and may be relevant during trypanosome infections, since Trypanosoma brucei-infected mice became gradually LPS-hypersensitive during the course of infection. Collectively, the VSG of trypanosomes encompasses two distinct macrophage-activating components: while the GIP moiety of sVSG mediates TNF-alpha induction, the DMG compound of the mfVSG anchor contributes to IL-1 alpha induction and LPS sensitization.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1949-1956
    Number of pages8
    JournalJournal of Immunology
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 1998

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