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The mechanism and functional consequences of passive acquistion of membrane and integral membrane protein by bovine polymorphonuclear neutrophils



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In this Ph.D. dissertation, the capacity of cultured bovine polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMNs) to passively acquire functional membrane proteins from apoptotic or necrotic cells was examined. The rapid transfer of membrane proteins from a variety of syngeneic, allogeneic and xenogeneic donor cells to PMNs was observed. In contrast to PMNs from other species, bovine PMNs did not express endogenous major histocompatability class II (MHC II) protein, either constitutively or inducibly. The entire bovine PMN population was, however, able to acquire detectable levels of surface MHC II or cluster of differentiation (CD) 3 protein following PMN co-culture with cells in conditions which permitted close contact with dieing cells. Therefore, it was hypothesized that membrane lipids and proteins were acquired by bovine PMN following fusion with microparticles (MPs) shed from either apoptotic or necrotic cells. It was then determined whether the lifespan of bovine PMNs could be sufficient to provide an opportunity for PMNs to interact with T cells. Lymphocyte recruitment to sites of inflammation often occurs 3-5 days after the initial PMN recruitment. PMN survival would need to span this interval to provide an opportunity for an interaction between PMNs and lymphocytes. Pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as interferon (IFN)-γ and granulocyte macrophage colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF), and bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) were observed to prolong the lifespan of cultured PMNs beyond 96 hours. These observations supported the conclusion that it was biologically possible for PMNs and T cells to interact at sites of inflammation. Using confocal microscopy, direct evidence was provided for the formation and release of MPs from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and the attachment of these MPs to bovine PMNs. A time-dependent integration of both MP membranes and integral membrane proteins into the PMN plasma membrane was also observed. The passively acquired membrane lipids and proteins then diffused throughout the PMN plasma membrane. Another observation was the formation of MPs which contained donor cell cytoplasmic proteins and subsequent transfer this cytoplasmic protein to recipient PMNs. These observations raised the possibility that MPs could also transfer genetic material. Thus, confocal microscopy provided direct evidence that MPs were one mechanism by which bovine PMNs could passively acquire membrane lipids and integral membrane proteins. Finally, the functional consequences of passive acquisition of membrane proteins were examined using two different approaches. A significant increase in green fluorescent protein (GFP) transgene expression was observed following PMN infection using the GFP expressing bovine adenovirus vector (BAV304). These PMNs had passively acquired membranes from an adenovirus permissive cell line. This observation provided indirect evidence for the passive acquisition of a functional viral receptor protein. Direct evidence that PMNs passively acquired functional membrane proteins was provided by the observation that the passive transfer of ovine MHC II molecules to bovine PMNs enabled these cells to induce antigen-specific proliferation and cytokine expression by xenoreactive T cell lines. Despite a reduction in amplitude and duration, T cell responses induced by PMNs were qualitatively similar to those observed following activation by the stimulator B cell line. These observations supported the conclusion that PMNs could function as antigen presenting cells (APCs) following the passive acquisition of MHC II protein. In conclusion, this research project provided evidence that bovine PMNs have an impressive ability to acquire membranes and functional integral membrane proteins from dead or dying cells. The implications of this transfer of immunological information are discussed within the context of the role which PMNs might play in both innate and adaptive immune responses.



microparticles, Protein Transfer, Antigen Presentation, MHC II, Neutrophils, Bovine, CD3



Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Veterinary Microbiology


Veterinary Microbiology


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