Maternal- And fetal-encoded perforin-2 limits placental infection by a bloodborne pathogen

Petoria Gayle, Vanessa McGaughey, Rosmely Hernandez, Marina Wylie, Rachel C. Colletti, Ka Lam Nguyen, Marshall Arons, Laura Padula, Natasa Strbo, Kurt Schesser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Placental immune responses are highly regulated to strike a balance between protection and tolerance. For relatively mild infections, protection encompasses both the mother and fetus; however, during worsening conditions, protection becomes exclusively reserved for the mother. Previously, we and others have shown that the host factor perforin-2 plays a central role in protecting mice and cells against infection. In this study, we analyzed perforin-2 activity in the mouse placenta to determine whether perforin-2 plays a similarly protective role. We show that perforin-2 is critical for inhibiting Listeria monocytogenes colonization of the placenta and fetus and that this protection is due to both maternal and fetal-encoded perforin-2. Perforin-2 mRNA is readily detectable in individual immune cells of the decidua, and these levels are further enhanced specifically in decidual macrophages during high-dose infections that result in fetal expulsion. Unexpectedly, inductive perforin-2 expression in decidual macrophages did not occur during milder infections in which fetal viability remained intact. This pattern of expression significantly differed from that observed in splenic macrophages in which inductive perforin-2 expression was observed in both high and mild infection conditions. In the placenta, inductive perforin-2 expression in decidual macrophages was coincident with their polarization from a CD206+ MHC class IIlo to CD206- MHC class IIhi phenotype that normally occurs in the placenta during high-burden infections. Our results suggest that perforin-2 is part of a host response that is protective either for both the mother and fetus in milder infections or exclusively for the mother during high-dose infections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1878-1885
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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