Research ArticleIMMUNOLOGY

Blood-stage malaria parasites manipulate host innate immune responses through the induction of sFGL2

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Science Advances  26 Feb 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 9, eaay9269
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aay9269


Malaria parasites suppress host immune responses to facilitate their survival, but the underlying mechanism remains elusive. Here, we found that blood-stage malaria parasites predominantly induced CD4+Foxp3+CD25+ regulatory T cells to release soluble fibrinogen-like protein 2 (sFGL2), which substantially enhanced the infection. This was attributed to the capacity of sFGL2 to inhibit macrophages from releasing monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) and to sequentially reduce the recruitment of natural killer/natural killer T cells to the spleen and the production of interferon-γ. sFGL2 inhibited c-Jun N-terminal kinase phosphorylation in the Toll-like receptor 2 signaling pathway of macrophages dependent on FcγRIIB receptor to release MCP-1. Notably, sFGL2 were markedly elevated in the sera of patients with malaria, and recombinant FGL2 substantially suppressed Plasmodium falciparum from inducing macrophages to release MCP-1. Therefore, we highlight a previously unrecognized immune suppression strategy of malaria parasites and uncover the fundamental mechanism of sFGL2 to suppress host innate immune responses.

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