Expulsion of parasitic gastrointestinal nematodes requires diverse effector mechanisms coordinated by a Th2-type response. The evolutionarily conserved JmjC protein; Myc Induced Nuclear Antigen (Mina) has been shown to repress IL4, a key Th2 cytokine, suggesting Mina may negatively regulate nematode expulsion. Here we report that expulsion of the parasitic nematode Trichuris muris was indeed accelerated in Mina deficient mice. Unexpectedly, this was associated not with an elevated Th2- but rather an impaired Th1-type response. Further reciprocal bone marrow chimera and conditional KO experiments demonstrated that retarded parasite expulsion and a normal Th1-type response both required Mina in intestinal epithelial cells (IECs). Transcriptional profiling experiments in IECs revealed anti-microbial α-defensin peptides to be the major target of Mina-dependent retention of worms in infected mice. In vitro exposure to recombinant α-defensin peptides caused cytotoxic damage to whipworms. These results identify a latent IEC-intrinsic anthelmintic pathway actively constrained by Mina and point to α-defensins as important effectors that together with Mina may be attractive therapeutic targets for the control of nematode infection.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)