Macrophages intimately interact with intestinal epithelial cells, but the consequences of defective macrophage–epithelial cell interactions for protection against enteric pathogens are poorly understood. Here, we show that in mice with a deletion in protein tyrosine phosphatase nonreceptor type 2 (PTPN2) in macrophages, infection with Citrobacter rodentium, a model of enteropathogenic and enterohemorrhagic E. coli infection in humans, promoted a strong type 1/IL-22–driven immune response, culminating in accelerated disease but also faster clearance of the pathogen. In contrast, deletion of PTPN2 specifically in epithelial cells rendered the epithelium unable to upregulate antimicrobial peptides and consequently resulted in a failure to eliminate the infection. The ability of PTPN2-deficient macrophages to induce faster recovery from C. rodentium was dependent on macrophage-intrinsic IL-22 production, which was highly increased in macrophages deficient in PTPN2. Our findings demonstrate the importance of macrophage-mediated factors, and especially macrophage-derived IL-22, for the induction of protective immune responses in the intestinal epithelium, and show that normal PTPN2 expression in the epithelium is crucial to allow for protection against enterohemorrhagic E. coli and other intestinal pathogens.
Marianne R. Spalinger, Vinicius Canale, Anica Becerra, Ali Shawki, Meli’sa Crawford, Alina N. Santos, Pritha Chatterjee, Jiang Li, Meera G. Nair, Declan F. McCole