Nutritional immunity involves cellular and physiological responses to invading pathogens, such as limiting iron availability, increasing exposure to bactericidal copper, and manipulating zinc to restrict the growth of pathogens. Manipulation of zinc at the host-pathogen interface depends on both the pathogen’s identity and the nature of the host cell. Here we examine infection of bone marrow-derived macrophages from 129S6/SvEvTac mice by
SalmonellaTyphimurium. Unlike Balb/c and C57BL/6 mice, 129S6/SvEvTac mice possess a functional Slc11a1 (Nramp-1), a phagosomal transporter of divalent cations. We carried out global RNA sequencing upon treatment with live or heat-killed Salmonellaat 2 Hrs and 18 Hrs post-infection and observed widespread changes in metal transport, metal-dependent, and metal homeostasis genes, suggesting significant remodeling of iron, copper, and zinc availability by host cells. Changes in host cell gene expression suggest infection increases cytosolic zinc while simultaneously limiting zinc within the phagosome. Using a genetically encoded sensor, we demonstrate that cytosolic labile zinc increases 36-fold 12 hrs post-infection. Further, manipulation of zinc in the media alters bacterial clearance and replication, with zinc depletion inhibiting both processes. Comparing our results to published data on infection of C57BL/6 macrophages revealed notable differences in metal regulation and the global immune response, with 129S6 macrophages transitioning from M1 to M2 polarization over the course of infection and showing signs of recovery. Our results reveal that functional Slc11a1 profoundly affects the transcriptional landscape upon infection. Further, our results indicate that manipulation of zinc at the host-pathogen interface is more nuanced than that of iron or copper. 129S6 macrophage leverage intricate means of manipulating zinc availability and distribution to limit the pathogen’s access to zinc while simultaneously ensuring sufficient zinc to support the immune response. Author summary
Metal ions play an important role in influencing how immune cells such as macrophages respond to infection by pathogens. Because metal ions are both essential to survival, as well toxic when present is excessive amounts, the host and the pathogen have evolved diverse strategies to regulate metal acquisition and availability. Here, we show that the metal transporter slc11a1 plays a critical role in defining the host response to Salmonella infection. Infection causes widespread changes in expression of metal regulatory genes to limit the pathogen’s access to iron, increase its exposure to copper, and remodel zinc to ensure increased zinc in the cytosol and limited zinc for the pathogen. Macrophages expressing functional slc11a1 have a different profile of metal regulation and vastly different outcomes compared to immune compromised macrophage, demonstrating significantly different nutritional immune responses in immune competent versus immune compromised macrophages.