J Cell Biochem . 2018 Dec;119(12):10176-10185. doi: 10.1002/jcb.27358. Epub 2018 Aug 20.

Excreted-secreted antigens of Toxoplasma gondii inhibit Foxp3 via IL-2Rγ/JAK3/Stats pathway

Jinling Chen 1Caiqun Huang 1 2Dandan Zhu 1Liuting Chen 1Jianxin Wang 3Xiaolei Sun 1Liang Hu 1Yinong Duan 1Affiliations expand


Toxoplasma gondii excreted-secreted antigens (ESA) could lead to the fetal abortion especially in the early stage of pregnancy. Deficit in regulatory T cells is a critical event in the fetal abortion. Transcription factor forkhead box p3 (Foxp3) mediates differentiation and functional roles on regulatory T cells. Previously, we revealed that ESA inhibited Foxp3 through the suppression of transforming growth factor-β type II receptor, phosphorylation of Smad2, Smad3, and Smad4. Knockdown of Smad2 collaborated with ESA to further inhibit Foxp3. The decrease in Foxp3 caused by ESA reversed via forced expression of Smad2, Smad3, and Smad4, respectively. In this study, we investigate whether other signaling pathways are implicated in ESA-induced Foxp3 downregulation. EL4 cells were cultured and stimulated with ESA. Interleukin-2 receptor γ (IL-2Rγ) chain, Janus kinase 3 (JAK3), signal transducer and activator of transcription 5 (Stat5), Stat3, phosphorylation of Stat5 and Stat3 were assayed by Western blot analysis. Phosphorylation of Stat5 and Stat3 was further measured by cellular immunofluorescence. The expression plasmid of pcDNA3.1-Stat3 and pcDNA3.1-Stat5b was constructed, respectively. The concentration of interleukin-2 (IL-2) in the culture supernatants was detected by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. ESA inhibited the level of JAK3, phosphorylation of Stat5 and Stat3, and Foxp3 in EL4 cells. The suppressive effects of ESA on Foxp3 were attenuated by forced expression of Stat5 and Stat3. In addition, ESA suppressed IL-2Rγ in EL4 cells, while IL-2Rγ agonist could markedly reverse the diminished Foxp3 caused by ESA. Furthermore, ESA directly influenced the expression of IL-2Rγ, rather than the availability of IL-2 indirectly. ESA suppressed the level of Foxp3 via inhibiting IL-2Rγ/JAK3/Stats signaling pathway in EL4 cells.

Keywords: IL-2Rγ/JAK3/Stats pathway; Toxoplasma gondii; excreted-secreted antigens; forkhead box p3; interleukin-2.