Toxoplasma gondii is a ubiquitous apicomplexan parasite of mammals and birds and an important pathogen of humans. IFN-γ is the major mediator of host resistance against T. gondii but intriguingly, parasite-infected host cells including macrophages are severely impaired to respond to IFN-γ due to defective transcriptional activation of target genes. Here, we tested the possibility that the impaired responsiveness of T. gondii-infected macrophages to IFN-γ can be restored by inhibiting histone deacetylases (HDACs) using the class I-specific inhibitor MS-275. Treatment of RAW264.7 cells with MS-275 indeed increased MHC class II surface expression in infected and non-infected cells and largely abolished the inhibition of IFN-γ-regulated MHC class II expression exerted by T. gondii. Genome-wide transcriptome profiling revealed that MS-275 increased mean mRNA levels of IFN-γ-regulated genes particularly in non-infected macrophages. Transcript levels of 33% of IFN-γ secondary response genes but only those of a few primary response genes were also increased by MS-275 in T. gondii-infected cells. Importantly, the unresponsiveness of parasite-infected cells to IFN-γ was however not abolished by MS-275. Furthermore, MS-275 also up-regulated several anti-inflammatory cytokines or signaling molecules in T. gondii-infected macrophages. It additionally regulated expression of more than 2500 genes in non-infected macrophages expression of which was surprisingly counteracted by prior infection with T. gondii. FACS analysis and immunofluorescence microscopy revealed that MS-275 did not considerably diminish the number of parasite-positive cells or the intracellular replication in macrophages stimulated or not with IFN-γ. Thus, a supportive therapy using MS-275 appears inappropriate for treatment of toxoplasmosis.
Keywords: Histone deacetylase; Immune evasion; Interferon-gamma; MS-275; Supportive therapy; Toxoplasma gondii.
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