Apr 11, 2020

A loss-of-function mutation in IL-17F enhances susceptibility of mice to oropharyngeal candidiasis

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
C. ZhouSarah gaffen


Oropharyngeal candidiasis (OPC) is an opportunistic infection of the oral mucosa caused by the commensal fungus C. albicans. IL-17 receptor signaling is essential to prevent OPC in mice and humans, but the individual roles of its ligands, IL-17A, IL-17F and IL-17AF, are less clear. A homozygous IL-17F deficiency in mice does not cause OPC susceptibility, whereas mice lacking IL-17A are moderately susceptible. In humans, a rare heterozygous mutation in IL-17F (IL-17F.S65L) was identified that causes chronic mucocutaneous candidiasis, suggesting the existence of essential antifungal pathways mediated by IL-17F and/or IL-17AF. To investigate the role of IL-17F and IL-17AF in more detail, we exploited this experiment of nature by creating a mouse line bearing the homologous mutation in IL-17F (Ser65Leu) by CRISPR/Cas9.The resulting Il17fS65L/S65L mice showed increased susceptibility to OPC, but only in homozygous, not heterozygous, mutant mice. The mutation was linked to impaired CXC chemokine expression and neutrophil recruitment to the infected tongue but not to alterations in antimicrobial peptide expression. These findings suggest mechanisms by which the enigmatic cytokine IL-17F contributes to host defense against fungi.

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