Zec, K.; Thiebes, S.; Bottek, J.; Siemes, D.; Spangenberg, P.; Trieu, D. V.; Kirstein, N.; Subramaniam, N.; Christ, R.; Klein, D.; Jendrossek, V.; Loose, M.; Wagenlehner, F.; Jablonska, J.; Bracht, T.; Sitek, B.; Budeus, B.; Klein-Hitpass, L.; Theegarten, D.; Shevchuk, O.; Engel, D. R.

2023 Front. Immunol.

Introduction: Streptococcus pneumoniae is one of the main causes of community-acquired infections in the lung alveoli in children and the elderly. Alveolar macrophages (AM) patrol alveoli in homeostasis and under infectious conditions. However, the molecular adaptations of AM upon infections with Streptococcus pneumoniae are incompletely resolved.

Methods: We used a comparative transcriptomic and proteomic approach to provide novel insights into the cellular mechanism that changes the molecular signature of AM during lung infections. Using a tandem mass spectrometry approach to murine cell-sorted AM, we revealed significant proteomic changes upon lung infection with Streptococcus pneumoniae.

Results: AM showed a strong neutrophil-associated proteomic signature, such as expression of CD11b, MPO, neutrophil gelatinases, and elastases, which was associated with phagocytosis of recruited neutrophils. Transcriptomic analysis indicated intrinsic expression of CD11b by AM. Moreover, comparative transcriptomic and proteomic profiling identified CD11b as the central molecular hub in AM, which influenced neutrophil recruitment, activation, and migration.

Discussion: In conclusion, our study provides novel insights into the intrinsic molecular adaptations of AM upon lung infection with Streptococcus pneumoniae and reveals profound alterations critical for effective antimicrobial immunity.