GSBS Dissertations and Theses

Publication Date


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Academic Program

Immunology and Microbiology



First Thesis Advisor

Hardy Kornfeld, M.D.


Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Immunity, Innate, Macrophages, Interleukin-1


Macrophages infected with a heavy burden of M.tb Erdman undergo a cell death that initially resembles apoptosis but quickly transitions to necrosis. Unlike the previously reported TNF dependent apoptosis induced by avirulent Mycobacterium [1], this form of macrophage cell death is not microbicidal [2]. Microbicidal effects are observed however, when the heavily infected macrophage encounters an uninfected naïve macrophage. My studies describe in part, the crosstalk between the uninfected and infected macrophage that results in the killing of the intracellular M.tb Cell contact between the two cell populations is not necessary for this killing of bacilli to occur and the soluble “signal” of communication between the two cell populations is transferrable, without naïve macrophages present, to newly infected cells also resulting in the reduced viability of the bacilli. We have found that when the IL-1 receptor is absent in the naïve macrophage population that the co-culture antimycobacterial effect is abrogated, suggesting that IL-1 released by the infected dying macrophage is critical for naïve macrophages to respond in a way that results in the decrease in mycobacterial viability. The signaling between the two cell population ultimately converges on activation of iNOS in the infected cell however ROS appears not to be involved.



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