To determine whether Mycobacterium bovis BCG vaccination would alter gamma interferon (IFN-γ) mRNA expression in guinea pig cells exposed to Mycobacterium tuberculosis, we cloned a cDNA encoding guinea pig IFN-γ from a spleen cell cDNA library. The cDNA is composed of 1,110 bp, with an open reading frame encoding a 166-amino-acid protein which shows 56 and 41% amino acid sequence homology to human and mouse IFN-γ, respectively. Spleen or lymph node cells from naive and BCG-vaccinated guinea pigs were stimulated with purified protein derivative (PPD) or M. tuberculosis H37Ra or H37Rv, and the total RNA was subjected to Northern blot analysis with a 32p-labeled probe derived from the cDNA clone. Compared to the IFN-γ mRNA expression in cells of naive animals, that in spleen and lymph node cells exposed to various stimuli was enhanced after BCG vaccination. However, there was a significant reduction in IFN-γ mRNA levels when cells were stimulated with a multiplicity of infection of greater than 1 virulent M. tuberculosis bacterium per 10 cells. The enhanced IFN-γ mRNA response in BCG-vaccinated animals was associated with an increase in the proportions of CD4+ T cells in the spleens, as determined by fluorescence-activated cell sorter analysis. Furthermore, the nonadherent population in the spleens enriched either by panning with anti-guinea pig immunoglobulin G-coated plates or by purification on nylon wool columns produced more IFN-γ mRNA than whole spleen cells following stimulation with concanavalin A or PPD. This indicates that T cells are principally responsible for the upregulation of IFN-γ mRNA expression following BCG vaccination. The mechanism by which virulent mycobacteria suppress IFN-γ mRNA accumulation is currently under investigation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases