Gene expression profiling of human macrophages at late time of infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Elisabetta Volpe, Giulia Cappelli, Manuela Grassi, Angelo Martino, Annalucia Serafino, Vittorio Colizzi, Nunzia Sanarico, Francesca Mariani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Macrophages play an essential role in the immune response to Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb). Previous transcriptome surveys, by means of micro- and macroarrays, investigated the cellular gene expression profile during the early phases of infection (within 48 hr). However, Mtb remains within the host macrophages for a longer period, continuing to influence the macrophage gene expression and, consequently, the environment in which it persists. Therefore, we studied the transcription patterns of human macrophages for up to 7 days after infection with Mtb. We used a macroarray approach to study 858 human genes involved in immunoregulation, and we confirmed by quantitative real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (q-rt RT-PCR) and by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay the most relevant modulations. We constantly observed the up-regulation in infected macrophages versus uninfected, of the following genes: interleukin-1β and interleukin-8, macrophage inflammatory protein-1α, growth-related oncogene-β, epithelial cell-derived neutrophil-activating peptide-78, macrophage-derived chemokine, and matrix metalloproteinase-7; whereas macrophage colony-stimulating factor-receptor and CD4 were down-regulated in infected macrophages. Mtb is able to withstand this intense cytokine microenvironment and to survive inside the human macrophage. Therefore we simultaneously investigated by q-rt RT-PCR the modulation of five mycobacterial genes: the alternative sigma factors sigA, sigE and sigG, the α-crystallin (acr) and the superoxide dismutase C (sodC) involved in survival mechanisms. The identified host and mycobacterial genes that were expressed until 7 days after infection, could have a role in the interplay between the host immune defences and the bacterial escape mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)449-460
Number of pages12
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2006


  • Chemokines
  • Cytokines
  • Host-pathogen interplay
  • Human phagocytes
  • Virulent mycobacteria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology


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