Ribonuclease T2 from Aspergillus fumigatus promotes T helper type 2 responses through M2 polarization of macrophages

Int J Mol Med. 2020 Aug;46(2):718-728. doi: 10.3892/ijmm.2020.4613. Epub 2020 May 21.


Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA) is an allergic immunological response to Aspergillus fumigatus (Af) exposure, which induces a strong T helper 2 (Th2) response via mechanisms that have yet to be elucidated. The aim of the present study was to investigate the hypothesis that T2 ribonuclease from Af (Af RNASET2) induces M2‑type macrophage polarization to produce a T helper 2 (Th2) immune response. Recombinant Af RNASET2 (rAf RNASET2) was expressed and purified in a prokaryotic pET system and BALB/c mice were immunized with rAf RNASET2 for in vivo analyses. Expression levels of M2 polarization factors were evaluated in RAW264.7 macrophages treated with rAf RNASET2 in vitro using flow cytometry, reverse transcription‑quantitative PCR, and western blot analysis. The results predicted that the mature Af RNASET2 protein (382 amino acids; GenBank no. MN593022) contained two conserved amino acid sequence (CAS) domains, termed CAS‑1 and CAS‑2, which are also characteristic of the RNASET2 family proteins. The protein expression levels of the Th2‑related cytokines interleukin (IL)‑4, IL‑10, and IL‑13 were upregulated in mice immunized with rAf RNASET2. RAW264.7 macrophages treated with rAf RNASET2 showed increased mRNA expression levels of M2 factors [arginase 1, Il‑10, and Il‑13]; however, there was no difference in cells treated with rAf RNASET2 that had been inactivated with a ribonuclease inhibitor (RNasin). The protein expression levels of IL‑10 in macrophage culture supernatant were also increased following stimulation with rAf RNASET2. In addition, rAf RNASET2 upregulated the expression of phosphorylated mitogen activated protein kinases (MAPKs) in RAW264.7 cells, whereas MAPK inhibitors attenuated rAf RNASET2‑induced IL‑10 expression in RAW264.7 cells. In conclusion, the present study reveals that high rAf RNASET2 activity is required for rAf RNASET2‑induced M2 polarization of macrophages and suggests an important immune regulatory role for Af RNASET2 in ABPA pathogenesis.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aspergillus fumigatus / enzymology*
  • Endoribonucleases / genetics
  • Endoribonucleases / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Interleukin-10 / metabolism
  • Interleukin-13 / metabolism
  • Interleukin-4 / metabolism
  • Macrophages / cytology*
  • Macrophages / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • RAW 264.7 Cells
  • Th2 Cells / cytology*
  • Th2 Cells / immunology
  • Th2 Cells / metabolism*


  • Interleukin-13
  • Interleukin-10
  • Interleukin-4
  • Endoribonucleases
  • ribonuclease T(2)