Prevention of allograft tolerance by bacterial infection with Listeria monocytogenes

Tongmin Wang, Luqiu Chen, Emily Ahmed, Lianli Ma, Dengping Yin, Ping Zhou, Jikun Shen, Honglin Xu, Chyung Ru Wang, Maria Luisa Alegre, Anita S. Chong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Exposure to certain viruses and parasites has been shown to prevent the induction of transplantation tolerance in mice via the generation of cross-reactive memory T cell responses or the induction of bystander activation. Bacterial infections are common in the perioperative period of solid organ allograft recipients in the clinic, and correlations between bacterial infections and acute allograft rejection have been reported. However, whether bacterial infections at the time of transplantation have any effect on the generation of transplantation tolerance remains to be established. We used the Gram-positive intracellular bacterium Listeria monocytogenes (LM) as a model pathogen because its effects on immune responses are well described. Perioperative LM infection prevented cardiac and skin allograft acceptance induced by anti-CD154 and donor-specific transfusion in mice. LM-mediated rejection was not due to the generation of cross-reactive T cells and was largely independent of signaling via MyD88, an adaptor for most TLRs, IL-1, and IL-18. Instead, transplant rejection following LM infection was dependent on the expression of the phagosome-lysing pore former listeriolysin O and on type I IFN receptor signaling. Our results indicate that bacterial exposure at the time of transplantation can antagonize tolerogenic regimens by enhancing alloantigen-specific immune responses independently of the generation of cross-reactive memory T cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5991-5999
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 1 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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