About this Research Topic
The Mononuclear Phagocyte System (MPS) of vertebrates is composed of monocytes, macrophages and dendritic cells. Together, they form part of the first line of immune defense against a variety of pathogens (bacteria, fungi, parasites and viruses), and thus play an important role in maintaining organism homeostasis. The mode of transmission, type of replication and mechanism of disease-causing differ significantly for each pathogen, eliciting a unique immune response in the host. Within this context, the MPS acts as both the sentinel and tailor of the immune system.
As sentinels, MPS cells are found in blood and within tissues throughout the body to patrol against pathogenic insult. The strategy to detect 'microbial non-self' relies on MPS to recognize conserved microbial products known as 'pathogen-associated molecular pattern' (PAMPs). PAMPs recognition represents a checkpoint in the response to pathogens and relies on conserved 'pattern recognition receptors' (PRRs). Upon PRR engagement, MPS mount a cell-autonomous attack that includes the internalization and compartmentalization of intracellular pathogens into toxic compartments that promote destruction. In parallel, MPS cells launch an inflammatory response composed of a cellular arm and soluble factors to control extracellular pathogens. In cases when innate immunity fails to eliminate the invading microbe, MPS serves as a tailor to generate adaptive immunity for pathogen eradication and generation of "memory" cells, thus ensuring enhanced protection against re-infection. Indeed, MPS cell functions comprise the capture, process, migration and delivery of antigenic information to lymphoid organs, where type-1 immunity is tailored against intracellular microbes and type-2 immunity against extracellular pathogens. However, this potent adaptive immunity is also a double-edge sword that can cause aberrant inflammatory disorders, like autoimmunity or chronic inflammation. For this reason, MPS also tailors tolerance immunity against unwanted inflammation. Successful clearance of the microbe results in its destruction and proper collection of debris, resolution of inflammation and tissue healing for which MPS is essential.
Reciprocally, as part of the evolutionary process taking place in all organisms, microbes evolved strategies to circumvent the actions bestowed by MPS cells. Multiple pathogens modulate the differentiation, maturation and activation programs of the MPS, as an efficient strategy to avoid a dedicated immune response. Among the most common evasion strategies are the subversion of phagocytosis, inhibition of PRR-mediated immunity, resistance to intracellular killing by reactive oxygen and nitrogen species, restriction of phagosome maturation, modulation of cellular metabolism and nutrient acquisition, regulation of cell death and autophagy, and modulation of pro-inflammatory responses and hijacking of tolerance mechanisms, among others.
The tenet of this Research Topic is that a better understanding of MPS in infection will yield insights for development of therapeutics to enhance antimicrobial processes or dampen detrimental inflammation for the host's benefit. We believe that contributions to this topic will serve as a platform for discussion and debate about relevant issues and themes in this field. Our aim is to bring expert junior and senior scientists to address recent progress, highlight critical knowledge gaps, foment scientific exchange, and establish conceptual frameworks for future MPS investigation in the context of infectious disease.
Keywords: Monocyte, macrophage, dendritic cell, infection, inflammation
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