Susceptibility to Coccidioides species in C57BL/6 mice is associated with expression of a truncated splice variant of Dectin-1 (Clec7a)

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Coccidioides posadasii spherules stimulate macrophages to make cytokines via TLR-2 and Dectin-1. We used formalin-killed spherules and 1,3-β-glucan purified from spherules to stimulate elicited peritoneal macrophages and myeloid dendritic cells (mDCs) from susceptible (C57BL/6) and resistant (DBA/2) mouse strains. DBA/2 macrophages produced more TNF-α and IL-6 than macrophages from C57BL/6 mice, and the amount of TNF-α made was dependent on both TLR2 and Dectin-1. DCs from C57BL/6 mice made more IL-10 and less IL-23p19 and IL-12p70 than did DBA/2 DC. These responses were inhibited by a monoclonal antibody to Dectin-1. DBA/2 mice expressed full-length Dectin-1, whereas C57BL/6 mice spliced out exon 3, which encodes most of the stalk. RAW cells transduced to express the full-length Dectin-1 responded better to FKS than cells expressing truncated Dectin-1. We compared the isoform of Dectin-1 expressed by 34 C57BL/6 X DBA/2 recombinant inbred (BXD RI) lines with their susceptibility to Coccidioides immitis. In 25 of 34 RI lines susceptibility or resistance corresponded to short or full-length isoforms, respectively. These results suggest that alternative splicing of the Dectin-1 gene contributes to susceptibility of C57BL/6 mice to coccidioidomycosis, and affects the cytokine responses of macrophages and mDCs to spherules.

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