Talaromyces marneffei causes life-threatening opportunistic infections, mainly in Southeast Asia and South China. T. marneffei mainly infects patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) but also infects individuals without known immunosuppression. Here we investigated the involvement of anti–IFN-γ autoantibodies in severe T. marneffei infections in HIV-negative patients. We enrolled 58 HIV-negative adults with severe T. marneffei infections who were otherwise healthy. We found a high prevalence of neutralizing anti–IFN-γ autoantibodies (94.8%) in this cohort. The presence of anti–IFN-γ autoantibodies was strongly associated with HLA-DRB1*16:02 and -DQB1*05:02 alleles in these patients. We demonstrated that adult-onset acquired immunodeficiency due to autoantibodies against IFN-γ is the major cause of severe T. marneffei infections in HIV-negative patients in regions where this fungus is endemic. The high prevalence of anti–IFN-γ autoantibody–associated HLA class II DRB1*16:02 and DQB1*05:02 alleles may account for severe T. marneffei infections in Southeast Asia. Our findings clarify the pathogenesis of T. marneffei infection and pave the way for developing novel treatments.

Introduction

Talaromyces (Penicillium) marneffei is an important intracellular fungal pathogen that can cause severe systemic infection. It is a thermally dimorphic fungus, presenting septate hyphae at 25°C and transforming to the pathogenic yeast morphology at 37°C during infection. It is endemic to Southern China, Taiwan, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Northeast India, and Hong Kong and is almost exclusively restricted to Southeast Asia (Vanittanakom et al., 2006). T. marneffei infections in humans are supposed to occur through inhalation of T. marneffei conidia in the environment. Upon entering the human body, this fungal pathogen can replicate in macrophages in yeast form to cause infection, ranging from local infection in skin and lungs to severe systemic infection (Cao et al., 2019). T. marneffei infections usually occur in immunocompromised individuals with impaired cell-mediated immunity, including secondary immunodeficiency due to HIV infection, cancer, and immunosuppressive therapy. However, T. marneffei infections can also occur in HIV-negative individuals with no obvious immunosuppression (Kauffman et al., 2014; Ramos-e-Silva et al., 2012). The factors underlying a host susceptibility to this infection are unknown, but a potential immunodeficiency is suspected. For example, children with certain inborn genetic disorders, such as cytochrome B-245 β chain (CYBB) and cluster of differentiation 40 ligand (CD40L) mutations, or signal transducer and activator of transcription-1 (STAT1) gain-of-function mutations, are susceptible to severe T. marneffei infection, suggesting T cell–macrophage immunity has a critical role in controlling T. marneffei infection (Kamchaisatian et al., 2006; Lee and Lau, 2017; Lee et al., 2014).

The production of neutralizing anti–IFN-γ autoantibodies is an emerging adult-onset immunodeficiency restricted to specific regions of the globe, including Hong Kong, Thailand, and Taiwan (Browne et al., 2012a; Chi et al., 2013, 2016; Döffinger et al., 2004; Lee et al., 2013; Patel et al., 2005). Sporadic cases have also been reported in Japan, the Philippines, Vietnam, Laos, and other Southeast Asian countries (Chan et al., 2014; Patel et al., 2005; Tanaka et al., 2007). Most patients with neutralizing anti–IFN-γ autoantibodies suffer from disseminated infections with nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM; Browne et al., 2012a). Other opportunistic infections, such as T. marneffei infection, have also been observed in a few NTM infection patients with anti–IFN-γ autoantibodies (Pruetpongpun et al., 2016; Tang et al., 2010).

We showed previously that anti–IFN-γ autoantibodies in adults with disseminated NTM infections are strongly associated with two specific HLA class II alleles: HLA-DRB1*16:02/DQB1*05:02 and HLA-DRB1*15:02/DQB1*05:01 (Chi et al., 2013; Ku et al., 2016). HLA-DRB1*16:02/DQB1*05:02 is a specific haplotype commonly found in populations in South China and Taiwan, whereas -DRB1*15:02/DQB1*05:01 is more common in patients from Southeast Asia (Middleton et al., 2003). The specific distribution of these risk-associated HLA haplotypes accounts for the geographic/ethnic restriction of anti–IFN-γ autoantibody–related diseases. Given the high frequency of the DRB1*16:02/DQB1*05:02 risk haplotype in South China, we hypothesized that this part of the country, particularly Guangxi, would also be a region with high levels of anti–IFN-γ autoantibody production. To test this hypothesis, we analyzed the presence of anti–IFN-γ autoantibodies and HLA class II haplotypes in HIV-negative patients with T. marneffei infections from South China.

Results and discussion

Characteristics of patients with T. marneffei infections

We enrolled 58 patients suffering from severe T. marneffei infections. Their demographic characteristics, proven pathogens, sampling sites (listed in order of occurrence), and treatment outcomes are summarized in Table 1. The patients’ mean age was 54.2 yr (range, 22–77), and the study population consisted of 34 men and 24 women. The mean age of the control group was 49.5 yr (range, 23–65), and this control group consisted of 59 men and 48 women. No prior medical condition was reported for 47 of the cases (81.0%). Comorbidities were identified in 11 patients (19.0%), mainly type 2 diabetes mellitus (n = 7), followed by hypertension (n = 3), renal insufficiency (n = 2), thalassemia (n = 1), coronary atherosclerotic heart disease (n = 1), embolism of the pulmonary artery (n = 1), and acute kidney injury (n = 1). None of the patients had a history of cancer, autoimmunity, or any form of immunosuppressive treatment.

Characteristics of the 58 patients with T. marneffei infection

Table 1.
Characteristics of the 58 patients with T. marneffei infection
IDAgeSexMedical historyComorbid conditionsCo-infectionCulture specimen yielding T. marneffeiDays required for diagnosisNumber of recurrencesFollow-up (mo)Antibiotics usedOutcomea
1 57 Anti-TB treatment; cough and expectoration; left hand herpes; lymph node (neck, jaw) enlargement for 1 yr; recurrent fever  CMV, NTM, HBV, C. albicans Bone marrow 218 35 CLA, EMB, ITC, MXF Cured 
2 59 Anti-TB treatment; anterior chest erythema, nodules, and swelling for 4 mo; cervical lymph node enlargement for 4 mo; recurrent fever; weight loss  MAC Skin lesion 145 37 ITC, RMP Cured 
3 47 Chest pain for 9 mo; cough and expectoration; recurrent fever; skin abscess; weight loss  B. cepacia, NTM, VZV Pus (skin) 205 29 EMB, INH, LVX, PZA Death 
4 54 Hepatomegaly; multiple lymph nodes (neck, mediastinum, retroperitoneum); recurrent fever for 1 mo; weight loss  HBV Skin lesion 59 38 ITC Death 
5 59 Erythema, papules and pustules (Sweet’s syndrome); lymph node enlargement for 8 mo; weight loss  NTM Skin lesion 108 62 CEF, ITC Death 
6 49 Anti-TB treatment; fever, cough and expectoration for 2 yr; lymph node enlargement; weight loss DM, H/T  Skin lesion, pleural tissue 923 Unknown 28 EMB, INH, RMP, VRC Unknown 
7 57 Cough and expectoration for 1 mo; fever; weight loss RI  Alveolar lavage fluid 42 Unknown 31 CEF, FLC, ITC, LVX, MXF, VRC Unknown 
8 31 Anti-TB treatment; chest pain; cough and expectoration for 5 mo; lymph node enlargement (neck); weight loss   Alveolar lavage fluid, sputum, liver tissue 40 Unknown 29 CEF, CLA, EMB, FLC, INH, MXF, PZA, RMP Unknown 
9 62 Anti-TB treatment; lumbosacral pain for 2 mo; recurrent fever; skin abscess; weight loss   Pus (bone) 488 39 AMB Cured 
10 40 Anti-TB treatment; fever with lymph node enlargement (neck, groin) for 4 mo; joint pain; weight loss   Bone marrow 375 72 AMB, FOX, ITC, LVX Persistent infection 
11 42 Anti-TB treatment; erythema, papules, and pustules over entire body (Sweet’s syndrome); lymph node enlargement for >6 mo; recurrent fever; weight loss   Pus (clavicle) 319 26 AMB, ITC Cured 
12 58 Anti-TB treatment; cough, expectoration, and fever for 6 mo; multiple masses; weight loss   Pus (skin) 611 41 AMB, ITC, LVX, VRC Cured 
13 49 Anti-TB treatment; cough, expectoration, and fever for 8 mo; lymph node enlargement (supraclavicular, mediastinum, pelvic cavity, groin); weight loss  K. pneumoniae, A. veronii Pus (joint) 119 25 VRC Death 
14 40 Acute generalized pustular disease; cough, expectoration and fever for 3 mo   Alveolar lavage fluid 30 13 CLA, VRC Persistent infection 
15 51 Anti-TB treatment; chest pain; cough, expectoration, and fever for 7 d; lymph node enlargement (mediastinum); skin mass; weight loss   Alveolar lavage fluid, lung tissue 273 13 AMB, CEF, FOX, INH, ITC, LVX, PZA, RMP Persistent infection 
16 51 Cough, expectoration for 6 mo; recurrent fever for 3 mo; skin abscess; weight loss   Pus (bone) 208 10 VRC Persistent infection 
17 50 Fever; cough and expectoration for 5 mo; swelling of the right neck lymph node for 3 mo (neck and mediastinum)   Blood 119 11 ITC Persistent infection 
18 51 Fever and cough for 4 mo; lympho-adenopathy for 3 yr (mediastinum, supraclavicular)  HBV Lung tissue 261 10 CEF, ITC Persistent infection 
19 57 Anti-TB treatment; cough, expectoration, and fever for 1 mo; weight loss  NTM Blood, sputum (lung) 34 37 EMB, FLC, FOX, INH, LVX, MXF, PZA, RMP, SXT, VRC Persistent infection 
20 60 Anti-TB treatment; recurrent fever; repeated enlargement of the right axillary lymph nodes for >20 yr; subcutaneous mass; weight loss   Skin lesion, pus 360 27 CLA, EMB, INH, ITC, MXF, RMP, VRC Persistent infection 
21 52 Anti-TB treatment; recurrent fever, cough, and expectoration for 8 mo; subcutaneous mass; weight loss  CMV Alveolar lavage fluid, skin lesion 268 37 AZ, FLC, MXF, VRC Unknown 
22 41 Anti-TB treatment; hepatosplenomegaly; lymph node enlargement (ear, neck, and submaxillary); recurrent fever and cough for 4 mo; skin ulcers; weight loss  VZV Blood 207 42 CEF, EMB, FLC, ITC, LVX, PZA, RMP, VRC Unknown 
23 29 Anti-TB treatment; fever, cough, and expectoration for 1 mo; hepatosplenomegaly; prolonged fever for 5 mo; weight loss  TB Pus (skin) 73 38 EMB, FLC, ITC, LVX, PZA, RMP Unknown 
24 46 Fever and lymph node enlargement for 3 mo; hepatosplenomegaly; weight loss  Clonorchis sinensis, VZV Pus (skin) 124 37 CEF, FLC, ITC, LVX, MXF Unknown 
25 57 Chest pain; cough and expectoration for 2 mo; lymph node enlargement (supraclavicular, neck) for 6 mo; recurrent fever; weight loss   Pleural tissue 85 Unknown 35 AMB, CEF, LVX, MXF, VRC Unknown 
26 64 Anti-TB treatment; cough and cervical lymph node enlargement for 10 mo; weight loss   Lymph node 283 44 AMB Cured 
27 50 Anti-TB treatment; cough and expectoration for >1 yr; recurrent fever for 2 mo; weight loss DM, H/T  Blood 55 41 CEF, FLC, ITC, VRC Death 
28 68 Anti-TB treatment; cough, expectoration, and fever for 1 mo; lymph node enlargement (armpit, mediastinum, groin); recurrent fever; weight loss DM E. cloacae Lung tissue 116 AMB, CEF, IPM, LVX Death 
29 67 Erythema, papules, and pustules over entire body (Sweet’s syndrome); lymph node enlargement for 2 yr; recurrent fever for 2 yr  Salmonella spp. Bone marrow, blood 515 Unknown 22 CEF, ITC, LVX, VRC Unknown 
30 65 Cough and expectoration for 5 mo; fever for 2 mo; hepatomegaly; lymph node enlargement (armpit, groin); skin lesions   Bone marrow 91 33 CEF, MXF, VRC Cured 
31 44 Anti-TB treatment; chest pain; cough and expectoration; lymph node enlargement (mediastinum); recurrent fever for 9 mo; weight loss  Mycobacterium abscessus Sputum (lung) 312 27 IPM, LZD, MXF, VRC Cured 
32 22 Anti-TB treatment; hip pain for 8 mo; weight loss Pyogenic osteomyelitis, thalassemia  Blood 166 45 VRC Death 
33 77 Anti-TB treatment; neck mass for 10 mo; lymph node enlargement (cervical and pulmonary portal) for 10 mo; weight loss   Pus, skin lesion 417 13 LVX, INH, ITC, VRC Persistent infection 
34 70 Anti-TB treatment; fever; cough and expectoration; cervical lymph node enlargement for 1 mo; weight loss  VZV Lymph node 91 29 LVX, FOX, VRC, ITC, RMP, EMB, INH, CAS, MXF, VA Death 
35 64 Anti-TB treatment; cough and expectoration for 3 mo; recurrent fever for 1 mo; weight loss   Alveolar lavage fluid 91 18 AMB, ITC, TG, CDZ, ETM, VA, FLC, IPM Persistent infection 
36 65 Anti-TB treatment; recurrent fever and cough for 1 yr; Sweet’s syndrome; weight loss DM, coronary atherosclerotic heart disease Salmonella spp., TB Pus (joint) 305 21 INH, RMP, EMB, MXF, AMB Death 
37 53 Anti-TB treatment; recurrent fever and abdominal pain; weight loss   Blood 365 24 CLI, EMB, MEM, TEC, CAS, VRC Death 
38 61 Recurrent fever, cough, and abdominal pain; weight loss  Salmonella spp. Lung tissue 210 16 LVX, DOX, CHL Death 
39 56 Recurrent fever and cough; lymph node enlargement; Sweet’s syndrome; weight loss   Lymph node 30 19 LVX, FLC, VRC, AMB Cured 
40 33 Anti-TB treatment; fever; chest pain, cough, and expectoration for 4 mo; Sweet’s syndrome; weight loss   Alveolar lavage fluid 515 13 PTZ, CLI, RMP, INH, EMB, AMB, VRC Unknown 
41 59 Fever and cough for 20 d; weight loss RI VZV Sputum, alveolar lavage fluid 75 17 VRC, MEM, LZD, TEC, CDZ, AMB, MXF, DOX, AN, ACV Unknown 
42 63 Neck mass for 1 mo; fever for 19 d; weight loss  EBV Blood 60 14 LVX, CDZ, MEM, VA, VRC, AMB, PTZ, LZD Persistent infection 
43 50 Anti-TB treatment; recurrent cough for 7 mo; recurrent fever for 5 mo; weight loss  VZV Blood, alveolar lavage fluid 240 15 PSL, LVX, TCF, MXF, INH, RMP, EMB, PZA, AMB, ACV Persistent infection 
44 63 Anti-TB treatment; cough and expectoration for 8 mo DM  Alveolar lavage fluid 210 CDZ, LVX, SCF, AMB Persistent infection 
45 64 Cough and expectoration for 4 mo; fever for 7 d; weight loss Embolism of pulmonary artery, acute kidney injury VZV, A. baumannii, K. pneumoniae Lung tissue 150 12 PTZ, MXF, AMX, LVX, CDZ, SCF, CLI, FLC, IPM, VRC, LZD, SXT, MEM, VA, CAS, AMB, ACV, TG Persistent infection 
46 50 Anti-TB treatment; fever; right supraclavicular mass for 3 mo  Aspergillus Blood, lymph node 151 INH, RPT, EMB, PZA, FOX, VRC Persistent infection 
47 68 Recurrent fever and cough for 8 mo DM, H/T  Blood 240 12 CDZ, CLI, SCF, MXF, VA, VRC Death 
48 72 Recurrent fever for 6 mo  EBV, CMV Lymph node 181 11 TG, AN, SCF, GCV, LVX, VRC Death 
49 49 Anti-TB treatment; neck mass for 3 mo; fever for 15 d; weight loss  TB Alveolar lavage fluid 89 15 INH, RMP, EMB, PZA, PTZ, LVX, AMB Cured 
50 45 Anti-TB treatment; recurrent fever, cough, and expectoration for 3 mo; respiratory distress and asthma for 2 mo; weight loss   Alveolar lavage fluid 90 15 CDZ, MXF, MEM, VRC Cured 
51 57 Recurrent fever and cough for 1 mo  K. pneumoniae Lung tissue 29 20 CLI, TCF, VA, VRC, AMB Persistent infection 
52 52 Anti-TB treatment; repeated enlargement of cervical lymph node; recurrent cough and expectoration  M. abscessus Lymph node 62 23 ITC, CXM, RMP, EMB, INH Persistent infection 
53 45 Anti-TB treatment; recurrent cough and expectoration; weight loss  C. albicans  120 14 PSL, MXF, PTZ, LZD, INH, FLC, RMP, EMB Persistent infection 
54 51 Cough, expectoration, and fever for 1 mo DM VZV, Salmonella spp. Blood 28 18 AMB, VRC, ITC Persistent infection 
55 68 Recurrent fever, cough, and expectoration for 1 mo; weight loss  C. albicans Alveolar lavage fluid 29 14 CDZ, MXF, PTZ, ETM, FLC Unknown 
A 69 Cough and expectoration for 5 d; hepatosplenomegaly; recurrent fever for 1 mo; weight loss  HBV, C. albicans Blood 30 Unknown 33 CEF, VRC Unknown 
B 62 Chest pain for 1 yr; recurrent fever for 3 mo; skin ulcers   Pus (skin) 83 Unknown 19 AMB, VRC Unknown 
C 47 Anti-TB treatment; cough and expectoration; hepatomegaly; recurrent fever; swollen lymph nodes for 3 mo   Lung tissue 1,213 27 LVX, MXF, VRC Cured 
IDAgeSexMedical historyComorbid conditionsCo-infectionCulture specimen yielding T. marneffeiDays required for diagnosisNumber of recurrencesFollow-up (mo)Antibiotics usedOutcomea
1 57 Anti-TB treatment; cough and expectoration; left hand herpes; lymph node (neck, jaw) enlargement for 1 yr; recurrent fever  CMV, NTM, HBV, C. albicans Bone marrow 218 35 CLA, EMB, ITC, MXF Cured 
2 59 Anti-TB treatment; anterior chest erythema, nodules, and swelling for 4 mo; cervical lymph node enlargement for 4 mo; recurrent fever; weight loss  MAC Skin lesion 145 37 ITC, RMP Cured 
3 47 Chest pain for 9 mo; cough and expectoration; recurrent fever; skin abscess; weight loss  B. cepacia, NTM, VZV Pus (skin) 205 29 EMB, INH, LVX, PZA Death 
4 54 Hepatomegaly; multiple lymph nodes (neck, mediastinum, retroperitoneum); recurrent fever for 1 mo; weight loss  HBV Skin lesion 59 38 ITC Death 
5 59 Erythema, papules and pustules (Sweet’s syndrome); lymph node enlargement for 8 mo; weight loss  NTM Skin lesion 108 62 CEF, ITC Death 
6 49 Anti-TB treatment; fever, cough and expectoration for 2 yr; lymph node enlargement; weight loss DM, H/T  Skin lesion, pleural tissue 923 Unknown 28 EMB, INH, RMP, VRC Unknown 
7 57 Cough and expectoration for 1 mo; fever; weight loss RI  Alveolar lavage fluid 42 Unknown 31 CEF, FLC, ITC, LVX, MXF, VRC Unknown 
8 31 Anti-TB treatment; chest pain; cough and expectoration for 5 mo; lymph node enlargement (neck); weight loss   Alveolar lavage fluid, sputum, liver tissue 40 Unknown 29 CEF, CLA, EMB, FLC, INH, MXF, PZA, RMP Unknown 
9 62 Anti-TB treatment; lumbosacral pain for 2 mo; recurrent fever; skin abscess; weight loss   Pus (bone) 488 39 AMB Cured 
10 40 Anti-TB treatment; fever with lymph node enlargement (neck, groin) for 4 mo; joint pain; weight loss   Bone marrow 375 72 AMB, FOX, ITC, LVX Persistent infection 
11 42 Anti-TB treatment; erythema, papules, and pustules over entire body (Sweet’s syndrome); lymph node enlargement for >6 mo; recurrent fever; weight loss   Pus (clavicle) 319 26 AMB, ITC Cured 
12 58 Anti-TB treatment; cough, expectoration, and fever for 6 mo; multiple masses; weight loss   Pus (skin) 611 41 AMB, ITC, LVX, VRC Cured 
13 49 Anti-TB treatment; cough, expectoration, and fever for 8 mo; lymph node enlargement (supraclavicular, mediastinum, pelvic cavity, groin); weight loss  K. pneumoniae, A. veronii Pus (joint) 119 25 VRC Death 
14 40 Acute generalized pustular disease; cough, expectoration and fever for 3 mo   Alveolar lavage fluid 30 13 CLA, VRC Persistent infection 
15 51 Anti-TB treatment; chest pain; cough, expectoration, and fever for 7 d; lymph node enlargement (mediastinum); skin mass; weight loss   Alveolar lavage fluid, lung tissue 273 13 AMB, CEF, FOX, INH, ITC, LVX, PZA, RMP Persistent infection 
16 51 Cough, expectoration for 6 mo; recurrent fever for 3 mo; skin abscess; weight loss   Pus (bone) 208 10 VRC Persistent infection 
17 50 Fever; cough and expectoration for 5 mo; swelling of the right neck lymph node for 3 mo (neck and mediastinum)   Blood 119 11 ITC Persistent infection 
18 51 Fever and cough for 4 mo; lympho-adenopathy for 3 yr (mediastinum, supraclavicular)  HBV Lung tissue 261 10 CEF, ITC Persistent infection 
19 57 Anti-TB treatment; cough, expectoration, and fever for 1 mo; weight loss  NTM Blood, sputum (lung) 34 37 EMB, FLC, FOX, INH, LVX, MXF, PZA, RMP, SXT, VRC Persistent infection 
20 60 Anti-TB treatment; recurrent fever; repeated enlargement of the right axillary lymph nodes for >20 yr; subcutaneous mass; weight loss   Skin lesion, pus 360 27 CLA, EMB, INH, ITC, MXF, RMP, VRC Persistent infection 
21 52 Anti-TB treatment; recurrent fever, cough, and expectoration for 8 mo; subcutaneous mass; weight loss  CMV Alveolar lavage fluid, skin lesion 268 37 AZ, FLC, MXF, VRC Unknown 
22 41 Anti-TB treatment; hepatosplenomegaly; lymph node enlargement (ear, neck, and submaxillary); recurrent fever and cough for 4 mo; skin ulcers; weight loss  VZV Blood 207 42 CEF, EMB, FLC, ITC, LVX, PZA, RMP, VRC Unknown 
23 29 Anti-TB treatment; fever, cough, and expectoration for 1 mo; hepatosplenomegaly; prolonged fever for 5 mo; weight loss  TB Pus (skin) 73 38 EMB, FLC, ITC, LVX, PZA, RMP Unknown 
24 46 Fever and lymph node enlargement for 3 mo; hepatosplenomegaly; weight loss  Clonorchis sinensis, VZV Pus (skin) 124 37 CEF, FLC, ITC, LVX, MXF Unknown 
25 57 Chest pain; cough and expectoration for 2 mo; lymph node enlargement (supraclavicular, neck) for 6 mo; recurrent fever; weight loss   Pleural tissue 85 Unknown 35 AMB, CEF, LVX, MXF, VRC Unknown 
26 64 Anti-TB treatment; cough and cervical lymph node enlargement for 10 mo; weight loss   Lymph node 283 44 AMB Cured 
27 50 Anti-TB treatment; cough and expectoration for >1 yr; recurrent fever for 2 mo; weight loss DM, H/T  Blood 55 41 CEF, FLC, ITC, VRC Death 
28 68 Anti-TB treatment; cough, expectoration, and fever for 1 mo; lymph node enlargement (armpit, mediastinum, groin); recurrent fever; weight loss DM E. cloacae Lung tissue 116 AMB, CEF, IPM, LVX Death 
29 67 Erythema, papules, and pustules over entire body (Sweet’s syndrome); lymph node enlargement for 2 yr; recurrent fever for 2 yr  Salmonella spp. Bone marrow, blood 515 Unknown 22 CEF, ITC, LVX, VRC Unknown 
30 65 Cough and expectoration for 5 mo; fever for 2 mo; hepatomegaly; lymph node enlargement (armpit, groin); skin lesions   Bone marrow 91 33 CEF, MXF, VRC Cured 
31 44 Anti-TB treatment; chest pain; cough and expectoration; lymph node enlargement (mediastinum); recurrent fever for 9 mo; weight loss  Mycobacterium abscessus Sputum (lung) 312 27 IPM, LZD, MXF, VRC Cured 
32 22 Anti-TB treatment; hip pain for 8 mo; weight loss Pyogenic osteomyelitis, thalassemia  Blood 166 45 VRC Death 
33 77 Anti-TB treatment; neck mass for 10 mo; lymph node enlargement (cervical and pulmonary portal) for 10 mo; weight loss   Pus, skin lesion 417 13 LVX, INH, ITC, VRC Persistent infection 
34 70 Anti-TB treatment; fever; cough and expectoration; cervical lymph node enlargement for 1 mo; weight loss  VZV Lymph node 91 29 LVX, FOX, VRC, ITC, RMP, EMB, INH, CAS, MXF, VA Death 
35 64 Anti-TB treatment; cough and expectoration for 3 mo; recurrent fever for 1 mo; weight loss   Alveolar lavage fluid 91 18 AMB, ITC, TG, CDZ, ETM, VA, FLC, IPM Persistent infection 
36 65 Anti-TB treatment; recurrent fever and cough for 1 yr; Sweet’s syndrome; weight loss DM, coronary atherosclerotic heart disease Salmonella spp., TB Pus (joint) 305 21 INH, RMP, EMB, MXF, AMB Death 
37 53 Anti-TB treatment; recurrent fever and abdominal pain; weight loss   Blood 365 24 CLI, EMB, MEM, TEC, CAS, VRC Death 
38 61 Recurrent fever, cough, and abdominal pain; weight loss  Salmonella spp. Lung tissue 210 16 LVX, DOX, CHL Death 
39 56 Recurrent fever and cough; lymph node enlargement; Sweet’s syndrome; weight loss   Lymph node 30 19 LVX, FLC, VRC, AMB Cured 
40 33 Anti-TB treatment; fever; chest pain, cough, and expectoration for 4 mo; Sweet’s syndrome; weight loss   Alveolar lavage fluid 515 13 PTZ, CLI, RMP, INH, EMB, AMB, VRC Unknown 
41 59 Fever and cough for 20 d; weight loss RI VZV Sputum, alveolar lavage fluid 75 17 VRC, MEM, LZD, TEC, CDZ, AMB, MXF, DOX, AN, ACV Unknown 
42 63 Neck mass for 1 mo; fever for 19 d; weight loss  EBV Blood 60 14 LVX, CDZ, MEM, VA, VRC, AMB, PTZ, LZD Persistent infection 
43 50 Anti-TB treatment; recurrent cough for 7 mo; recurrent fever for 5 mo; weight loss  VZV Blood, alveolar lavage fluid 240 15 PSL, LVX, TCF, MXF, INH, RMP, EMB, PZA, AMB, ACV Persistent infection 
44 63 Anti-TB treatment; cough and expectoration for 8 mo DM  Alveolar lavage fluid 210 CDZ, LVX, SCF, AMB Persistent infection 
45 64 Cough and expectoration for 4 mo; fever for 7 d; weight loss Embolism of pulmonary artery, acute kidney injury VZV, A. baumannii, K. pneumoniae Lung tissue 150 12 PTZ, MXF, AMX, LVX, CDZ, SCF, CLI, FLC, IPM, VRC, LZD, SXT, MEM, VA, CAS, AMB, ACV, TG Persistent infection 
46 50 Anti-TB treatment; fever; right supraclavicular mass for 3 mo  Aspergillus Blood, lymph node 151 INH, RPT, EMB, PZA, FOX, VRC Persistent infection 
47 68 Recurrent fever and cough for 8 mo DM, H/T  Blood 240 12 CDZ, CLI, SCF, MXF, VA, VRC Death 
48 72 Recurrent fever for 6 mo  EBV, CMV Lymph node 181 11 TG, AN, SCF, GCV, LVX, VRC Death 
49 49 Anti-TB treatment; neck mass for 3 mo; fever for 15 d; weight loss  TB Alveolar lavage fluid 89 15 INH, RMP, EMB, PZA, PTZ, LVX, AMB Cured 
50 45 Anti-TB treatment; recurrent fever, cough, and expectoration for 3 mo; respiratory distress and asthma for 2 mo; weight loss   Alveolar lavage fluid 90 15 CDZ, MXF, MEM, VRC Cured 
51 57 Recurrent fever and cough for 1 mo  K. pneumoniae Lung tissue 29 20 CLI, TCF, VA, VRC, AMB Persistent infection 
52 52 Anti-TB treatment; repeated enlargement of cervical lymph node; recurrent cough and expectoration  M. abscessus Lymph node 62 23 ITC, CXM, RMP, EMB, INH Persistent infection 
53 45 Anti-TB treatment; recurrent cough and expectoration; weight loss  C. albicans  120 14 PSL, MXF, PTZ, LZD, INH, FLC, RMP, EMB Persistent infection 
54 51 Cough, expectoration, and fever for 1 mo DM VZV, Salmonella spp. Blood 28 18 AMB, VRC, ITC Persistent infection 
55 68 Recurrent fever, cough, and expectoration for 1 mo; weight loss  C. albicans Alveolar lavage fluid 29 14 CDZ, MXF, PTZ, ETM, FLC Unknown 
A 69 Cough and expectoration for 5 d; hepatosplenomegaly; recurrent fever for 1 mo; weight loss  HBV, C. albicans Blood 30 Unknown 33 CEF, VRC Unknown 
B 62 Chest pain for 1 yr; recurrent fever for 3 mo; skin ulcers   Pus (skin) 83 Unknown 19 AMB, VRC Unknown 
C 47 Anti-TB treatment; cough and expectoration; hepatomegaly; recurrent fever; swollen lymph nodes for 3 mo   Lung tissue 1,213 27 LVX, MXF, VRC Cured 

ACV, acyclovir; AMB, amphotericin B; AMX, amoxicillin; AN, amikacin; AZ, azithromycin; CAS, caspofungin; CDZ, cefodizime; CEF, ceftibuten; CHL, chloramphenicol; CLA, clarithromycin; CLI, clindamycin; CXM, cefuroxime; DM, diabetes mellitus; DOX, doxycycline; EMB, ethambutol; ETM, etimicin; F, female; FLC, fluconazole; FOX, cefoxitin; GCV, ganciclovir; H/T, hypertension; HBV, hepatitis B virus; INH, isoniazid; IPM, imipenem; ITC, itraconazole; LVX, levofloxacin; LZD, linezolid; M, male; MAC, Mycobacterium avium complex; MEM, meropenem; MXF, moxifloxacin; PSL, piperacillin/sulbactam; PTZ, piperacillin/tazobactam; PZA, pyrazinamide; RI, renal insufficiency; RMP, rifampin; RPT, rifapentine; SCF, sulbactam/cefoperazone; SXT, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole; TCF, tazobactam/cefoperazone; TEC, teicoplanin; TG, tigecycline; VA, vancomycin; VRC, voriconazole.

a

The definition of cure is “the patient has no sign or no recurrence of T. marneffei infection during the follow-up period.”

Detection of anti–IFN-γ autoantibodies

We evaluated possible adult-onset immunodeficiency due to anti–IFN-γ autoantibodies by performing an indirect ELISA on serially diluted plasma from healthy donors and patients to test for the presence of anti–IFN-γ autoantibodies. Anti–IFN-γ autoantibodies were detected (OD >0.5, in 1:100 dilution) in most patients (55/58 cases; Fig. 1 A). In the inhibition assay, we incubated a fixed concentration (100 pg/ml) of recombinant IFN-γ with serially diluted plasma from the patients. Recombinant human IFN-γ was almost undetectable in the 55 patients defined as anti–IFN-γ autoantibody–positive, even though the plasma was diluted significantly (1:200,000 dilutions for 16 patients; Fig. 1 B). Further analysis showed that most of these autoantibodies were of the IgG1 and IgG4 types (Fig. S1).

Figure 1.

Anti–IFN-γ autoantibodies in plasma of patients with severe T. marneffei infection. (A) An IFN-γ–immobilized plate was used to detect antibodies against IFN-γ in plasma. After applying serially diluted patient plasma, peroxidase-conjugated anti-human IgG was added to detect and quantify the presence of human autoantibodies against IFN-γ. Low OD values were obtained with plasma from healthy donors (107 cases, filled square) and three antibody-negative patients (Ab [−] patients, filled triangle), while high values (OD > 0.5 in 1:100 dilution) were detected in 55 antibody-positive patients (Ab [+] patients, filled circle). (B) Plasma from anti–IFN-γ autoantibody–positive patients interfered with the detection of human IFN-γ. Serially diluted patient plasma samples were respectively incubated with a fixed concentration (100 pg/ml) of IFN-γ. The amount of remaining unbound IFN-γ was detected by peroxidase-conjugated anti–IFN-γ antibodies. (C–E) Anti–IFN-γ autoantibodies from T. marneffei–infected patients showed neutralizing activity in vitro. IFN-γ–neutralizing activity was addressed by detecting the impact of patient plasma on IFN-γ–induced HLA-DR expression of THP-1 cells (C and D) and STAT-1 phosphorylation (pSTAT-1) in THP-1 cells (E). (C) THP-1 cells without IFN-γ were used as a negative control (blue peaks) as compared with those with IFN-γ induction (red peaks). (D) A scatter plot summarizing the result of HLA-DR expression with all the patient plasma samples in this cohort is shown. (E) STAT-1 phosphorylation in THP-1 cells was detected by flow cytometry. The result was shown as fold induction measured by the ratio of mean fluorescence intensity relative to those of cells without IFN-γ activation. All results are representative of at least two independent experiments. (D and E) Values represent median with interquartile range. The statistical analysis was performed by Mann–Whitney test. ****, P < 0.0001. NA, not activated.

Figure 1.

Anti–IFN-γ autoantibodies in plasma of patients with severe T. marneffei infection. (A) An IFN-γ–immobilized plate was used to detect antibodies against IFN-γ in plasma. After applying serially diluted patient plasma, peroxidase-conjugated anti-human IgG was added to detect and quantify the presence of human autoantibodies against IFN-γ. Low OD values were obtained with plasma from healthy donors (107 cases, filled square) and three antibody-negative patients (Ab [−] patients, filled triangle), while high values (OD > 0.5 in 1:100 dilution) were detected in 55 antibody-positive patients (Ab [+] patients, filled circle). (B) Plasma from anti–IFN-γ autoantibody–positive patients interfered with the detection of human IFN-γ. Serially diluted patient plasma samples were respectively incubated with a fixed concentration (100 pg/ml) of IFN-γ. The amount of remaining unbound IFN-γ was detected by peroxidase-conjugated anti–IFN-γ antibodies. (C–E) Anti–IFN-γ autoantibodies from T. marneffei–infected patients showed neutralizing activity in vitro. IFN-γ–neutralizing activity was addressed by detecting the impact of patient plasma on IFN-γ–induced HLA-DR expression of THP-1 cells (C and D) and STAT-1 phosphorylation (pSTAT-1) in THP-1 cells (E). (C) THP-1 cells without IFN-γ were used as a negative control (blue peaks) as compared with those with IFN-γ induction (red peaks). (D) A scatter plot summarizing the result of HLA-DR expression with all the patient plasma samples in this cohort is shown. (E) STAT-1 phosphorylation in THP-1 cells was detected by flow cytometry. The result was shown as fold induction measured by the ratio of mean fluorescence intensity relative to those of cells without IFN-γ activation. All results are representative of at least two independent experiments. (D and E) Values represent median with interquartile range. The statistical analysis was performed by Mann–Whitney test. ****, P < 0.0001. NA, not activated.

Figure S1.

Determination of anti–IFN-γ autoantibody IgG subtypes. Representative bar graph shows the IgG subclass of IFN-γ–reactive antibodies from selected patient plasma (1:1,000 diluted) as determined by indirect ELISA. The assays were performed in duplicate independently. HC, healthy control.

Figure S1.

Determination of anti–IFN-γ autoantibody IgG subtypes. Representative bar graph shows the IgG subclass of IFN-γ–reactive antibodies from selected patient plasma (1:1,000 diluted) as determined by indirect ELISA. The assays were performed in duplicate independently. HC, healthy control.

We then evaluated these anti–IFN-γ autoantibodies’ biological effect by assessing whether they could neutralize the IFN-γ-induced HLA-DR expression and STAT-1 phosphorylation in THP-1 cells (Fig. 1, C–E). Plasma from all anti–IFN-γ autoantibody–positive patients decreased IFN-γ–induced HLA-DR expression and STAT-1 phosphorylation, but no inhibitory effect was observed with plasma from healthy donors or the three antibody-negative patients. IFN-γ had been shown to enhance the clearance of T. marneffei in myeloid cells (Sisto et al., 2003). Consistent with this idea, plasma from anti–IFN-γ autoantibody–positive patients could impair the IFN-γ–mediated clearance of T. marneffei in THP-1 cells (Fig. S2).

Figure S2.

Plasma from patients with anti–IFN-γ autoantibodies inhibited the IFN-γ–mediated clearance of T. marneffei in THP-1 cells. THP-1 cells were stimulated with 20 ng/ml PMA for 48 h followed by resting for 12 h in refreshed medium. The differentiated cells were incubated with plasma in the absence or presence of IFN-γ (50 ng/ml) for 24 h. The cells were reseeded and co-cultured with T. marneffei yeasts (multiplicity of infection, 0.05) for 2 h. The cells were washed twice, then further cultured in RPMI-1640 medium containing 10% FBS, 1% penicillin/streptomycin, and 0.03 µg/ml amphotericin B for 48 h, followed by cell lysis and fungal CFUs counting. The results were shown as mean with SD obtained from two independent experiments. Statistical analysis was performed with the Student t test. **, P < 0.01; ***, P < 0.001. HC, healthy control; NA, not activated; ns, not significant.

Figure S2.

Plasma from patients with anti–IFN-γ autoantibodies inhibited the IFN-γ–mediated clearance of T. marneffei in THP-1 cells. THP-1 cells were stimulated with 20 ng/ml PMA for 48 h followed by resting for 12 h in refreshed medium. The differentiated cells were incubated with plasma in the absence or presence of IFN-γ (50 ng/ml) for 24 h. The cells were reseeded and co-cultured with T. marneffei yeasts (multiplicity of infection, 0.05) for 2 h. The cells were washed twice, then further cultured in RPMI-1640 medium containing 10% FBS, 1% penicillin/streptomycin, and 0.03 µg/ml amphotericin B for 48 h, followed by cell lysis and fungal CFUs counting. The results were shown as mean with SD obtained from two independent experiments. Statistical analysis was performed with the Student t test. **, P < 0.01; ***, P < 0.001. HC, healthy control; NA, not activated; ns, not significant.

We used a bead-based multiplex system to screen for the presence of autoantibodies on five other cytokines (GM-CSF, IL-6, IL-17A, IL-12, and IL-23), which have been linked to immune dysregulation and infection (Ku et al., 2020). Anti–GM-CSF autoantibodies were found in one patient (case 28), but these autoantibodies to GM-CSF were nonneutralizing, and this patient has no anti–GM-CSF autoantibody–related disease (Table 1 and Fig. S3). No other anti-cytokine autoantibodies were observed in the remaining T. marneffei–infected patients. 39 HIV patients (19 of whom had T. marneffei infections) were screened for anti–IFN-γ autoantibodies, and all were negative. In addition, we performed whole-exome sequencing with the DNA from the 50 anti–IFN-γ autoantibody–positive and 3 anti–IFN-γ autoantibody–negative cases. Neither reported pathogenic nor homozygous/compound heterozygous-predicted deleterious single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were identified in Mendelian susceptibility to mycobacterial disease (MSMD)–associated genes (IL12RB1, IL12B, ISG15, SPPL2A, IRF8, TYK2, IFNGR1, IFNGR2, STAT1, NEMO, CYBB, IL23R, IFNG, or IL12RB2) and chronic mucocutaneous candidiasis-associated genes (IL17F, IL17RC, IL17RA, ACT1, CARD9, STAT3, RORC, and MAPK8; Bustamante, 2020; Kerner et al., 2020; Li et al., 2017, 2019). The three heterozygous SNPs (IL12RB2 c.G1003T, p.D335Y; SPPL2A c.T995C, p.L332P; and IFNGR2 c.C115T, p.R39C) identified in the three patients (cases 1, 11, and 33, respectively) were predicted as probably damaging. Nevertheless, the immunodeficiency by autosomal dominant inheritance of IL12RB2 or SPPL2A has never been reported, and the frequency of IFNGR2 c.C115T is relatively common (∼0.07%) in East Asians. Thus, these SNPs are unlikely to cause the immunological defect observed, and no unifying genetic theory could be found for this patient cohort. Together, we demonstrated that neutralizing anti–IFN-γ autoantibodies were present in the plasma of 55/58 (94.8%) patients with severe T. marneffei infections.

Figure S3.

The plasma of case 28 contains nonneutralizing autoantibodies against GM-CSF. (A) The autoantibodies against GM-CSF were detected by indirect ELISA with serially diluted plasma. C.B., coating buffer only; HC, healthy control. (B) GM-CSF neutralizing activity of the plasma was performed by STAT-5 phosphorylation (pSTAT-5) assay with peripheral blood mononuclear cells from healthy volunteers. IL-3 treatment was used as a positive control for pSTAT-5. Plasma from one anti–GM-CSF autoantibody patient served as positive control (Kuo et al., 2017). The assays were performed in duplicate independently. NA, not activated.

Figure S3.

The plasma of case 28 contains nonneutralizing autoantibodies against GM-CSF. (A) The autoantibodies against GM-CSF were detected by indirect ELISA with serially diluted plasma. C.B., coating buffer only; HC, healthy control. (B) GM-CSF neutralizing activity of the plasma was performed by STAT-5 phosphorylation (pSTAT-5) assay with peripheral blood mononuclear cells from healthy volunteers. IL-3 treatment was used as a positive control for pSTAT-5. Plasma from one anti–GM-CSF autoantibody patient served as positive control (Kuo et al., 2017). The assays were performed in duplicate independently. NA, not activated.

Clinical manifestations in the 55 patients with anti–IFN-γ autoantibodies

In the 55 patients with anti–IFN-γ autoantibodies (cases 1–55; Table 1), common clinical features of T. marneffei infections included fever (85.5%), cough (80.0%), weight loss (78.2%), and lymphadenopathy (76.4%; Table 2). Multiple organ involvement was observed in these patients. The lungs were affected most frequently (100%), followed by the lymph nodes, skin, bones/joints, liver, and spleen (78.2%, 47.3%, 23.6%, 14.5%, and 9.1%, respectively; Table 2). Seven patients presented reactive skin lesions, five patients had Sweet’s syndrome, and two had generalized pustulosis. Laboratory investigations revealed leukocytosis, thrombocytosis, anemia, and high CD4+ and CD8+ counts (Table 3). Before and after T. marneffei infections, 30 patients (54.5%) were also infected with other opportunistic pathogens, including NTM (n = 7; 12.7%), varicella zoster virus (VZV; n = 8; 14.5%), CMV (n = 3; 5.5%), Candida albicans (n = 3; 5.5%), Mycobacterium tuberculosis (tuberculosis [TB]; n = 3; 5.5%), Salmonella spp. (n = 4; 7.3%), Klebsiella pneumoniae (n = 3; 5.5%), EBV (n = 2; 3.6%), Burkholderia cepacia (n = 1), Aeromonas veronii (n = 1), Acinetobacter baumannii (n = 1), Aspergillus (n = 1), and Enterobacter cloacae (n = 1; Table 1). Based on computed tomography and/or biopsy findings similar to those for TB, anti-TB antibiotics were given to some patients before T. marneffei infections were confirmed. Except for 10 cases of confirmed mycobacterial infections, TB infections were excluded by additional computed tomography scans, staining for acid-fast bacilli, and/or nonresponse to anti-TB treatment.

Clinical features of T. marneffei infections in patients with anti–IFN-γ autoantibodies

Table 2.
Clinical features of T. marneffei infections in patients with anti–IFN-γ autoantibodies
Clinical featuresNumber (n = 55)Percentage (%)
Symptoms/signs 
Fever 47 85.5 
Leukocytosis 46 83.6 
Cough 44 80.0 
Weight loss 43 78.2 
Lymphadenopathy 42 76.4 
Anemia 34 61.8 
Thrombocytosis 30 54.5 
Cutaneous or subcutaneous lesion 28 50.9 
Misdiagnosed as TB 28 50.9 
Malaise 25 45.5 
Arthritis or arthralgia 19 34.5 
Lymphopenia 13 23.6 
Abdominal pain or diarrhea 11 20.0 
Chest pain 11 20.0 
Dyspnea 11 20.0 
Hepatomegaly 16.4 
Thrombocytopenia 12.7 
Splenomegaly 10.9 
Hemoptysis 9.1 
Osteomyelitis 3.6 
Organ involvement 
Lung/pleura 55 100.0 
Lymph node 43 78.2 
Skin 26 47.3 
Bone/joints 13 23.6 
Liver 14.5 
Spleen 9.1 
Clinical featuresNumber (n = 55)Percentage (%)
Symptoms/signs 
Fever 47 85.5 
Leukocytosis 46 83.6 
Cough 44 80.0 
Weight loss 43 78.2 
Lymphadenopathy 42 76.4 
Anemia 34 61.8 
Thrombocytosis 30 54.5 
Cutaneous or subcutaneous lesion 28 50.9 
Misdiagnosed as TB 28 50.9 
Malaise 25 45.5 
Arthritis or arthralgia 19 34.5 
Lymphopenia 13 23.6 
Abdominal pain or diarrhea 11 20.0 
Chest pain 11 20.0 
Dyspnea 11 20.0 
Hepatomegaly 16.4 
Thrombocytopenia 12.7 
Splenomegaly 10.9 
Hemoptysis 9.1 
Osteomyelitis 3.6 
Organ involvement 
Lung/pleura 55 100.0 
Lymph node 43 78.2 
Skin 26 47.3 
Bone/joints 13 23.6 
Liver 14.5 
Spleen 9.1 

Laboratory findings for the 55 patients with anti–IFN-γ autoantibodies

Table 3.
Laboratory findings for the 55 patients with anti–IFN-γ autoantibodies
Laboratory examinationMedian (range)
Hemoglobin (g/liter) 91.7 (15.6–119.9) 
White blood cell count (×103/µl) 16.11 (4.67–37.67) 
Absolute neutrophil count (×103/µl) 11.99 (2.71–30.63) 
Absolute lymphocyte count (×103/µl) 2.16 (0.36–7.95) 
Platelet count (×103/µl) 359.6 (21.3–869.6) 
Aspartate aminotransferase (units/liter) 20.5 (4–88) 
Alanine aminotransferase (units/liter) 20.5 (3–150) 
CD4+ cell count (cells/mm3757 (32–2314) 
CD8+ cell count (cells/mm3565 (61–2124) 
IgG (g/liter) 24.34 (8.27–54.68) 
IgA (g/liter) 2.93 (1.013–7.307) 
IgM (g/liter) 0.9 (0.179–2.595) 
Natural killer cell (%) 17.55 (0.078–42.9) 
Laboratory examinationMedian (range)
Hemoglobin (g/liter) 91.7 (15.6–119.9) 
White blood cell count (×103/µl) 16.11 (4.67–37.67) 
Absolute neutrophil count (×103/µl) 11.99 (2.71–30.63) 
Absolute lymphocyte count (×103/µl) 2.16 (0.36–7.95) 
Platelet count (×103/µl) 359.6 (21.3–869.6) 
Aspartate aminotransferase (units/liter) 20.5 (4–88) 
Alanine aminotransferase (units/liter) 20.5 (3–150) 
CD4+ cell count (cells/mm3757 (32–2314) 
CD8+ cell count (cells/mm3565 (61–2124) 
IgG (g/liter) 24.34 (8.27–54.68) 
IgA (g/liter) 2.93 (1.013–7.307) 
IgM (g/liter) 0.9 (0.179–2.595) 
Natural killer cell (%) 17.55 (0.078–42.9) 

We followed disease progression in 43 patients with anti–IFN-γ autoantibodies. 13 died despite antimicrobial treatment (Table 1), and 19 suffered recurrent T. marneffei infections or subsequently developed other opportunistic infections, both requiring long-term antimicrobial treatment and severely affecting the patients’ quality of life. Only eight patients were cured after antimicrobial treatment (cure was defined as sustained resolution 6 mo after the end of treatment; Ouyang et al., 2017), and three patients sustained resolution for >3 mo after the end of treatment. Mortality was higher in these patients than it was in the HIV-positive patients investigated in a previous study (Kawila et al., 2013).

HLA alleles associated with anti–IFN-γ autoantibodies

We showed previously that the HLA-DRB1*16:02/DQB1*05:02 and DRB1*15:02/DQB1*05:01 haplotypes are strongly associated with the presence of anti–IFN-γ autoantibodies (Ku et al., 2016). Therefore, we analyzed the HLA–class II molecules DRB1 and DQB1 in patients with T. marneffei infections. In total, 16 DQB1 alleles and 25 DRB1 alleles were detected in patients and healthy controls (Table 4 and data not shown). We showed that DRB1*16:02 (n = 47; 85.4%) and DQB1*05:02 (n = 48; 87.3%) were more frequent in patients with anti–IFN-γ autoantibodies than in the control population (22.4% in controls for DRB1*16:02, and 43.9% for DQB1*05:02). Additionally, we found that 98.2% of the anti–IFN-γ autoantibody–positive patients carried the DRB1*15:02 or DRB1*16:02 alleles. The presence of the DRB1*16:02 or DQB1*05:02 allele was strongly associated with severe T. marneffei infections, and also associated with the production of anti–IFN-γ antibodies with odds ratios (ORs) of 20.32 (95% CI, 8.46–48.81; P = 1.92 × 10−14; corrected P value [Pc] = 4.80 × 10−13) and 8.75 (95% CI, 3.63–21.11; P = 1.13 × 10−7; Pc = 1.8 × 10−6), respectively (Table 4).

Comparison of the HLA alleles carried by anti–IFN-γ autoantibody–positive patients and healthy controls

Table 4.
Comparison of the HLA alleles carried by anti–IFN-γ autoantibody–positive patients and healthy controls
HLA allelesNumber carrying the alleleOR95% CIP valuePc
Patients (n = 55)Controls (n = 107)
DRB1*16:02 47 24 20.318 8.457–48.813 1.921 × 10−14 4.803 × 10−13 
DRB1*15:02 10 10 2.156 0.838–5.547 0.105 2.625 
DRB1*15:01 31 0.480 0.210–1.097 0.078 1.950 
DRB1*12:02 20 0.164 0.037–0.731 0.008 0.200 
DQB1*05:02 48 47 8.754 3.631–21.107 1.126 × 10−7 1.802 × 10−6 
DQB1*05:01 1.333 0.449–3.959 0.603 9.648 
DQB1*02:01 22 0.146 0.033–0.645 0.004 0.064 
DQB1*03:01 23 0.365 0.131–1.021 0.048 0.768 
DRB1*16:02 or *15:02 54 34 115.941 15.389–873.527 9.364 × 10−16 1.498 × 10−14 
HLA allelesNumber carrying the alleleOR95% CIP valuePc
Patients (n = 55)Controls (n = 107)
DRB1*16:02 47 24 20.318 8.457–48.813 1.921 × 10−14 4.803 × 10−13 
DRB1*15:02 10 10 2.156 0.838–5.547 0.105 2.625 
DRB1*15:01 31 0.480 0.210–1.097 0.078 1.950 
DRB1*12:02 20 0.164 0.037–0.731 0.008 0.200 
DQB1*05:02 48 47 8.754 3.631–21.107 1.126 × 10−7 1.802 × 10−6 
DQB1*05:01 1.333 0.449–3.959 0.603 9.648 
DQB1*02:01 22 0.146 0.033–0.645 0.004 0.064 
DQB1*03:01 23 0.365 0.131–1.021 0.048 0.768 
DRB1*16:02 or *15:02 54 34 115.941 15.389–873.527 9.364 × 10−16 1.498 × 10−14 

CI, confidence interval.

T. marneffei is considered an opportunistic fungal pathogen specifically found in South China and Southeast Asia (Vanittanakom et al., 2006). Here, we showed that, in addition to the previously reported NTM infections, anti–IFN-γ autoantibodies were highly prevalent in the patients with severe T. marneffei infections from the Guangxi region. We further demonstrated that these patients carried the HLA-DRB1*16:02/DQB1*05:02 haplotype, which was associated strongly with anti–IFN-γ autoantibodies, as we showed previously (Chi et al., 2013). Overall, our results suggest that autoantibodies against IFN-γ are the main etiology of T. marneffei infections in HIV-negative individuals, in which the risk HLA–class II alleles HLA-DRB1*16:02 and -DQB1*05:02 are highly prevalent.

The strong association between anti–IFN-γ autoantibodies and HLA-DRB1*16:02/DQB1*05:02 observed in this study and our previous work (Chi et al., 2013) suggests a pathogenic role of this HLA haplotype in anti–IFN-γ autoantibody generation. The geographic distribution of HLA-DRB1*16:02/DQB1*05:02 and T. marneffei largely overlaps in Guangxi, Guangdong, and Yunnan (provinces in South China; Ku et al., 2016). The high epidemicity of T. marneffei infections in these regions, in which bamboo rats serve as a reservoir of this species (Cao et al., 2011), is likely increased markedly by the high prevalence of anti–IFN-γ autoantibodies and the underlying HLA haplotype (Deng et al., 1988; Jiang et al., 2019; Lee and Lau, 2017). Indeed, severe T. marneffei infections are generally considered opportunistic infections found in a few patients with anti–IFN-γ autoantibodies (Chan et al., 2013; Tang et al., 2010). We further provided a large cohort of patients with T. marneffei infections, demonstrating that anti–IFN-γ autoantibody production is the major etiology of T. marneffei infections in previously healthy adults.

The discovery of this acquired IFN-γ deficiency in patients with T. marneffei infection suggests IFN-γ has a role in combating this fungal infection in humans. The IFN-γ’s biological role in humans has mostly been elucidated by studies of children with MSMDs (Bustamante et al., 2014; Casanova and Abel, 2002). MSMD patients with defects in the IFN-γ circuit mainly present with severe to lethal infections, and saprophytic nontuberculosis mycobacteria is one of those opportunistic pathogens. Similar to mycobacteria, T. marneffei is capable of replicating in human macrophages (Roilides et al., 2003). IFN-γ plays a key role in activating phagocytes to clear engulfed pathogens. Impairment of IFN-γ function may disturb the clearance of intracellular pathogens from various phyla, not only intracellular bacteria. Consistent with this view, a severe T. marneffei infection was recently reported in a Thai child with IFNGR1 deficiency (Lee and Lau, 2017). Therefore, IFN-γ-mediated macrophage activation and microbicidal activity are critical to control T. marneffei infections. Nevertheless, the detailed mechanism by which IFN-γ contributes to the control of T. marneffei in vivo remains to be determined. Further studies in humans and animal models are warranted to address this question.

In our cohort, only 12.7% of patients (7/55) with anti–IFN-γ autoantibodies experienced NTM infections (Table 1). NTM infections are the most common clinical manifestations of anti–IFN-γ autoantibody disease; however, the low NTM infection rate in our cohort might be important for future consideration. NTM are common saprophytes that are found in diverse natural ecosystems. Therefore, the rate of microbial exposure is unlikely to account for the lower prevalence of NTM infections compared with T. marneffei infections in patients with anti–IFN-γ autoantibodies in Guangxi (Claeys and Robinson, 2018). We speculate that T. marneffei is more pathogenic than NTM, and anti–IFN-γ autoantibodies’ neutralizing effects might be less potent in patients with T. marneffei infections. Whereas, residual IFN-γ activity may be sufficient to control the dissemination of NTM infections in these patients. Further studies are needed to test this hypothesis.

Persistent, life-threatening infections have been observed in a significant portion of our patients, even in those undergoing anti-fungal antibiotic treatment. B cell–depletion treatments, such as anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody therapy, were applied in anti–IFN-γ autoantibody patients who failed to response to antibiotics (Browne et al., 2012b). By eliminating the antibody-producing B cells, the titer of autoantibody decreased, and the endogenous IFN-γ–mediated immunity against pathogens was restored. This indicates that administering anti-CD20 antibody therapy may be useful for treating anti–IFN-γ–positive patients who suffer from recurrent T. marneffei infections.

In conclusion, we show that the adult-onset acquired immunodeficiency, mediated by anti–IFN-γ autoantibodies, is the most important factor underlying severe T. marneffei infections in HIV-negative patients. Based on our findings, we strongly recommend screening for anti–IFN-γ autoantibodies in HIV-negative patients suffering from severe T. marneffei infections, even if they do not have NTM infections. These findings not only improve our understanding of the pathogenesis of this disease but may also point out the anti–IFN-γ autoantibody–producing B cells as novel therapeutic targets for these patients in the near future.

Materials and methods

Study population

We conducted a 5-yr (from January 2013 to June 2018) prospective, cross-sectional, case-control study at the First Affiliated Hospital of Guangxi Medical University. The inclusion criteria for cases were (1) over the age of 18 yr; (2) negative for anti-HIV antibodies and no obvious immunosuppressed condition, such as malignant tumors and organ transplantation; (3) presented with histologically and culture-proven T. marneffei infections; and (4) provided informed consent for participation. Among the 174 patients with T. marneffei infection identified during this period, 108 cases were excluded due to HIV infection (101 cases) or other immunosuppressed conditions (7 cases). Informed consent was obtained from 58 of the 66 remaining cases. We followed these patients after first diagnosis and/or during the active stage of T. marneffei infection. Complete histories were obtained, and physical examinations, including routine clinical laboratory tests, were performed on all patients. The healthy control group was recruited from the physical examination center from the same hospital. The Institutional Ethics Review Board of the First Affiliated Hospital of Guangxi Medical University approved the study, which was conducted in accordance with Good Clinical Practice and the Declaration of Helsinki.

Determination of autoantibodies against IFN-γ

Anti–IFN-γ autoantibodies in plasma were measured by indirect ELISA according to a modified version of a previously described procedure (Chi et al., 2013). Briefly, 100 µl of 2 µg/ml recombinant human IFN-γ (R&D Systems), in carbonate buffer (pH 9.5), were added to each well in a 96-well flat-bottomed MaxiSorp plate (Nunc), and the plate was incubated overnight at 4°C. The next day, the wells were washed three times with wash buffer (0.05% Tween-20/PBS); 100 µl of blocking buffer (5% human albumin in PBS) were then added to each well, and the plate was incubated for 2 h at room temperature. Plasma samples were diluted serially with blocking buffer. Diluted plasma (100 µl) was added to each well, and the plate was incubated for 2 h at room temperature. The plate was washed four times with wash buffer, and 100 µl of horseradish peroxidase–conjugated goat anti-human IgG (1:5,000 diluted; Invitrogen) were added to each well. The plate was incubated for 1 h at room temperature and then washed four times with wash buffer. Next, 100 µl of tetramethylbenzidine (Sigma-Aldrich) were added to each well and incubated for 15 min at room temperature. Tetramethylbenzidine stop solution (100 µl; Southern Biotech) was added to each well to stop the reaction, and OD was determined at 450 nm. Samples with OD values >0.5 were considered positive for antibodies against IFN-γ, and this result was confirmed by inhibition assays and functional tests. ELISA was performed in duplicate for all samples.

IFN-γ inhibition assay

Plasma samples were serially diluted (1:20; 1:200; 1:2,000; 1:20,000, and 1:200,000) and incubated with recombinant human IFN-γ at a final concentration of 100 pg/ml for 3 h at room temperature. IFN-γ levels were determined with a human IFN-γ ELISA kit (BD Biosciences) according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Inhibition assays were performed in duplicate for all samples.

Functional test for autoantibodies against IFN-γ

The autoantibodies’ neutralizing activity against IFN-γ was assessed by evaluating their ability to reduce the IFN-γ–induced HLA-DR expression on THP-1 cells. THP-1 cells were cultured in complete RPMI-1640 medium containing 10% FBS (Gibco) and 1% penicillin/streptomycin (Gibco). THP-1 cells (2 × 105 cells/ml) were incubated with human recombinant IFN-γ (10 ng/ml, R&D Systems), in the presence or absence of plasma (10 µl), from anti–IFN-γ autoantibody–positive patients or healthy donors for 24 h at 37°C. HLA-DR expression was measured with a PE–anti–HLA-DR antibody (555812; BD Biosciences) by flow cytometry (FACS Canto II; BD), and the results were analyzed with FlowJo VX software. To measure STAT-1 phosphorylation, 2 × 105 peripheral blood mononuclear cells were placed in 200 µl of RPMI-1640 with 10% FBS (Geneteks) and 1% penicillin/streptomycin. Cells were then stimulated with 20 IU or 200 IU IFN-γ in RPMI-1640, which were preincubated with 20% normal plasma or patient plasma for 20 min at room temperature. After 30 min of stimulation in a 37°C incubator, cells were fixed and permeabilized using lysing solution (BD). The PE-phospho-STAT1 (pY701) antibody (BD PharMingen) was applied, and data were collected and analyzed with a FACSVerse flow cytometer and FACSuite software (BD Biosciences).

HLA typing

Blood from all participants was collected into EDTA for DNA extraction with the DNeasy Blood & Tissue Kit (Qiagen) according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The HLA-DQB1 and HLA-DRB1 polymorphisms in exon 2 of the target genes were investigated using a sequence-based typing method (Al-Hussein et al., 2002; Perz et al., 2007). All primers were synthesized by Shanghai Health (Table S1). The sequencing results were compared with the latest known allele sequences from an authoritative database (the human major histocompatibility complex section of the international immunogenetics database, ImMunoGeneTics/HLA) to identify the allele that was present in each subject (Robinson et al., 2001).

Statistical analysis

The proportions of HLA allele carriage were determined by direct counting. The allelic OR, 95% confidence interval, and P values for two-tailed tests were obtained with SPSS (version 22.0, IBM). We corrected for multiple testing by calculating Pc using the Bonferroni method. A value of Pc < 0.05 was considered significant.

Online supplemental material

Fig. S1 shows IgG subtypes of anti–IFN-γ autoantibody in our cohort. Fig. S2 provides evidence through T. marneffei killing assay that patients’ plasma with anti–IFN-γ autoantibody obviously blocked the IFN-γ clearance of T. marneffei. Fig. S3 shows the autoantibodies against GM-CSF found in case 28 plasma. Table S1 provides the primer set we used to amplify HLA-DQB1 and -DRB1 exon 2.

Acknowledgments

We thank the clinicians who referred their patients to us and the patients for agreeing to participate in the study.

This study was supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81571971 and 81271804) and the Natural Science Foundation of the Guangxi Province of China (2017GXNSFAA198004). C.-L. Ku was supported by grants from Chang Gung Memorial Hospital (CMRPD1A0681-3, CMRPD1F0171-3, CMRPD1I0151-2, and BMRP) and the Taiwan Ministry of Science and Technology (105-2628-B-182-002-MY3 and 108-2628-B-182-005). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, the decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Author contributions: J. Guo, X.-Q. Ning, J.-Y. Ding, H.-P. Shih, C.-L. Ku, and C.-W. Cao designed the experiments. J. Guo, X.-Q. Ning, and J.-Y. Ding conducted the experiments. J. Guo, X.-Q. Ning, Y.-Q. Zheng, J.-Y. Ding, H.-P. Shih, H.-T. Ting, Y.-F. Lo, I.Y.-F. Chang, C.-F. Yeh, K.-H. Tu, Y.-H. Tsai, C.-L. Ku, and C.-W. Cao analyzed and/or interpreted the data. N.-N. Shi, F.-Y. Wu, Y.-K. Lin, G. Liang, X.-C. Lu, J.-L. Kong, K. Wang, Y.-B. Lu, Y.-J. Fu, R. Hu, T.-M. Li, K.-S. Pan, X.-Y. Li, C.-Y. Huang, and C.-W. Cao provided samples and performed clinical diagnoses and patient follow-ups. C.-L. Ku and C.-W. Cao supervised the study. X.-Q. Ning, J. Guo, J.-Y. Ding, Y.-H. Tsai, C.-L. Ku, and C.-W. Cao wrote the manuscript and designed the figures, to which all other authors contributed. All of the authors revised the manuscript.

References

References
Al-Hussein
,
K.A.
,
N.R.
Rama
,
A.I.
Butt
,
B.
Meyer
,
E.
Rozemuller
, and
M.G.
Tilanus
.
2002
.
HLA class II sequence-based typing in normal Saudi individuals
.
Tissue Antigens
.
60
:
259
261
.
Browne
,
S.K.
,
P.D.
Burbelo
,
P.
Chetchotisakd
,
Y.
Suputtamongkol
,
S.
Kiertiburanakul
,
P.A.
Shaw
,
J.L.
Kirk
,
K.
Jutivorakool
,
R.
Zaman
,
L.
Ding
, et al
.
2012
a
.
Adult-onset immunodeficiency in Thailand and Taiwan
.
N. Engl. J. Med.
367
:
725
734
.
Browne
,
S.K.
,
R.
Zaman
,
E.P.
Sampaio
,
K.
Jutivorakool
,
L.B.
Rosen
,
L.
Ding
,
M.J.
Pancholi
,
L.M.
Yang
,
D.L.
Priel
,
G.
Uzel
, et al
.
2012
b
.
Anti-CD20 (rituximab) therapy for anti-IFN-γ autoantibody-associated nontuberculous mycobacterial infection
.
Blood.
119
:
3933
3939
.
Bustamante
,
J.
.
2020
.
Mendelian susceptibility to mycobacterial disease: recent discoveries
.
Hum. Genet
.
139
:
993
1000
.
Bustamante
,
J.
,
S.
Boisson-Dupuis
,
L.
Abel
, and
J.L.
Casanova
.
2014
.
Mendelian susceptibility to mycobacterial disease: genetic, immunological, and clinical features of inborn errors of IFN-γ immunity
.
Semin. Immunol
.
26
:
454
470
.
Cao
,
C.
,
L.
Liang
,
W.
Wang
,
H.
Luo
,
S.
Huang
,
D.
Liu
,
J.
Xu
,
D.A.
Henk
, and
M.C.
Fisher
.
2011
.
Common reservoirs for Penicillium marneffei infection in humans and rodents, China
.
Emerg. Infect. Dis
.
17
:
209
214
.
Cao
,
C.
,
L.
Xi
, and
V.
Chaturvedi
.
2019
.
Talaromycosis (Penicilliosis) Due to Talaromyces (Penicillium) marneffei: Insights into the Clinical Trends of a Major Fungal Disease 60 Years After the Discovery of the Pathogen
.
Mycopathologia
.
184
:
709
720
.
Casanova
,
J.L.
, and
L.
Abel
.
2002
.
Genetic dissection of immunity to mycobacteria: the human model
.
Annu. Rev. Immunol
.
20
:
581
620
.
Chan
,
J.F.
,
N.J.
Trendell-Smith
,
J.C.
Chan
,
I.F.
Hung
,
B.S.
Tang
,
V.C.
Cheng
,
C.K.
Yeung
, and
K.Y.
Yuen
.
2013
.
Reactive and infective dermatoses associated with adult-onset immunodeficiency due to anti-interferon-γ autoantibody: Sweet’s syndrome and beyond
.
Dermatology (Basel)
.
226
:
157
166
.
Chan
,
J.F.
,
K.S.
Yee
,
B.S.
Tang
,
V.C.
Cheng
,
I.F.
Hung
, and
K.Y.
Yuen
.
2014
.
Adult-onset immunodeficiency due to anti-interferon-γ autoantibody in mainland Chinese
.
Chin. Med. J. (Engl.)
.
127
:
1189
1190
.
Chi
,
C.Y.
,
C.C.
Chu
,
J.P.
Liu
,
C.H.
Lin
,
M.W.
Ho
,
W.J.
Lo
,
P.C.
Lin
,
H.J.
Chen
,
C.H.
Chou
,
J.Y.
Feng
, et al
.
2013
.
Anti-IFN-γ autoantibodies in adults with disseminated nontuberculous mycobacterial infections are associated with HLA-DRB1*16:02 and HLA-DQB1*05:02 and the reactivation of latent varicella-zoster virus infection
.
Blood
.
121
:
1357
1366
.
Chi
,
C.Y.
,
C.H.
Lin
,
M.W.
Ho
,
J.Y.
Ding
,
W.C.
Huang
,
H.P.
Shih
,
C.F.
Yeh
,
C.P.
Fung
,
H.Y.
Sun
,
C.T.
Huang
, et al
.
2016
.
Clinical manifestations, course, and outcome of patients with neutralizing anti-interferon-γ autoantibodies and disseminated nontuberculous mycobacterial infections
.
Medicine (Baltimore)
.
95
. e3927.
Claeys
,
T.A.
, and
R.T.
Robinson
.
2018
.
The many lives of nontuberculous mycobacteria
.
J. Bacteriol
.
200
:
e00739
-
e17
.
Deng
,
Z.
,
J.L.
Ribas
,
D.W.
Gibson
, and
D.H.
Connor
.
1988
.
Infections caused by Penicillium marneffei in China and Southeast Asia: review of eighteen published cases and report of four more Chinese cases
.
Rev. Infect. Dis
.
10
:
640
652
.
Döffinger
,
R.
,
M.R.
Helbert
,
G.
Barcenas-Morales
,
K.
Yang
,
S.
Dupuis
,
L.
Ceron-Gutierrez
,
C.
Espitia-Pinzon
,
N.
Barnes
,
G.
Bothamley
,
J.L.
Casanova
, et al
.
2004
.
Autoantibodies to interferon-γ in a patient with selective susceptibility to mycobacterial infection and organ-specific autoimmunity
.
Clin. Infect. Dis
.
38
:
e10
e14
.
Jiang
,
J.
,
S.
Meng
,
S.
Huang
,
Y.
Ruan
,
X.
Lu
,
J.Z.
Li
,
N.
Wu
,
J.
Huang
,
Z.
Xie
,
B.
Liang
, et al
.
2019
.
Effects of Talaromyces marneffei infection on mortality of HIV/AIDS patients in southern China: a retrospective cohort study
.
Clin. Microbiol. Infect
.
25
:
233
241
.
Kamchaisatian
,
W.
,
P.
Kosalaraksa
,
S.
Benjaponpitak
,
S.
Hongeng
,
C.
Direkwattanachai
,
P.
Lumbiganon
, and
S.
Wiangnon
.
2006
.
Penicillosis in patients with X-linked hyperimmunoglobulin M syndrome (XHIGM), case reports from Thailand
.
J. Allergy Clin. Immunol
.
117
:
S282
S282
.
Kauffman
,
C.A.
,
A.G.
Freifeld
,
D.R.
Andes
,
J.W.
Baddley
,
L.
Herwaldt
,
R.C.
Walker
,
B.D.
Alexander
,
E.J.
Anaissie
,
K.
Benedict
,
J.I.
Ito
, et al
.
2014
.
Endemic fungal infections in solid organ and hematopoietic cell transplant recipients enrolled in the Transplant-Associated Infection Surveillance Network (TRANSNET)
.
Transpl. Infect. Dis
.
16
:
213
224
.
Kawila
,
R.
,
R.
Chaiwarith
, and
K.
Supparatpinyo
.
2013
.
Clinical and laboratory characteristics of penicilliosis marneffei among patients with and without HIV infection in Northern Thailand: a retrospective study
.
BMC Infect. Dis
.
13
:
464
.
Kerner
,
G.
,
J.
Rosain
,
A.
Guérin
,
A.
Al-Khabaz
,
C.
Oleaga-Quintas
,
F.
Rapaport
,
M.J.
Massaad
,
J.Y.
Ding
,
T.
Khan
,
F.A.
Ali
, et al
.
2020
.
Inherited human IFN-γ deficiency underlies mycobacterial disease
.
J. Clin. Invest
.
130
:
3158
3171
.
Ku
,
C.L.
,
C.H.
Lin
,
S.W.
Chang
,
C.C.
Chu
,
J.F.
Chan
,
X.F.
Kong
,
C.H.
Lee
,
E.A.
Rosen
,
J.Y.
Ding
,
W.I.
Lee
, et al
.
2016
.
Anti-IFN-γ autoantibodies are strongly associated with HLA-DR*15:02/16:02 and HLA-DQ*05:01/05:02 across Southeast Asia
.
J. Allergy Clin. Immunol
.
137
:
945
8.e8
.
Ku
,
C.L.
,
C.Y.
Chi
,
H.
von Bernuth
, and
R.
Doffinger
.
2020
.
Autoantibodies against cytokines: phenocopies of primary immunodeficiencies?
Hum. Genet
.
139
:
783
794
.
Kuo
,
C.Y.
,
S.Y.
Wang
,
H.P.
Shih
,
K.H.
Tu
,
W.C.
Huang
,
J.Y.
Ding
,
C.H.
Lin
,
C.F.
Yeh
,
M.W.
Ho
,
S.C.
Chang
, et al
.
2017
.
Disseminated Cryptococcosis Due to Anti-Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor Autoantibodies in the Absence of Pulmonary Alveolar Proteinosis
.
J. Clin. Immunol
.
37
:
143
152
.
Lee
,
P.P.
, and
Y.L.
Lau
.
2017
.
Cellular and Molecular Defects Underlying Invasive Fungal Infections-Revelations from Endemic Mycoses
.
Front. Immunol
.
8
:
735
.
Lee
,
W.I.
,
J.L.
Huang
,
T.S.
Wu
,
M.H.
Lee
,
I.J.
Chen
,
K.H.
Yu
,
C.Y.
Liu
,
C.H.
Yang
,
M.Y.
Hsieh
,
Y.L.
Lin
, et al
.
2013
.
Patients with inhibitory and neutralizing auto-antibodies to interferon-γ resemble the sporadic adult-onset phenotype of Mendelian Susceptibility to Mycobacterial Disease (MSMD) lacking Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG)-induced diseases
.
Immunobiology
.
218
:
762
771
.
Lee
,
P.P.
,
H.
Mao
,
W.
Yang
,
K.W.
Chan
,
M.H.
Ho
,
T.L.
Lee
,
J.F.
Chan
,
P.C.
Woo
,
W.
Tu
, and
Y.L.
Lau
.
2014
.
Penicillium marneffei infection and impaired IFN-γ immunity in humans with autosomal-dominant gain-of-phosphorylation STAT1 mutations
.
J. Allergy Clin. Immunol
.
133
:
894
6.e5
.
Li
,
J.
,
D.C.
Vinh
,
J.L.
Casanova
, and
A.
Puel
.
2017
.
Inborn errors of immunity underlying fungal diseases in otherwise healthy individuals
.
Curr. Opin. Microbiol
.
40
:
46
57
.
Li
,
J.
,
M.
Ritelli
,
C.S.
Ma
,
G.
Rao
,
T.
Habib
,
E.
Corvilain
,
S.
Bougarn
,
S.
Cypowyj
,
L.
Grodecká
,
R.
Lévy
, et al
.
2019
.
Chronic mucocutaneous candidiasis and connective tissue disorder in humans with impaired JNK1-dependent responses to IL-17A/F and TGF-β
.
Sci. Immunol
.
4
. eaax7965.
Middleton
,
D.
,
L.
Menchaca
,
H.
Rood
, and
R.
Komerofsky
.
2003
. New allele frequency database: http://www.allelefrequencies.net. Tissue Antigens. https://doi.org/
Ouyang
,
Y.
,
S.
Cai
,
H.
Liang
, and
C.
Cao
.
2017
.
Administration of Voriconazole in Disseminated Talaromyces (Penicillium) Marneffei Infection: A Retrospective Study
.
Mycopathologia
.
182
:
569
575
.
Patel
,
S.Y.
,
L.
Ding
,
M.R.
Brown
,
L.
Lantz
,
T.
Gay
,
S.
Cohen
,
L.A.
Martyak
,
B.
Kubak
, and
S.M.
Holland
.
2005
.
Anti-IFN-γ autoantibodies in disseminated nontuberculous mycobacterial infections
.
J. Immunol
.
175
:
4769
4776
.
Perz
,
J.B.
,
R.
Szydlo
,
R.
Sergeant
,
J.
Sanz
,
D.
O’Shea
,
T.
Khan
,
N.
Davey
,
S.
Loaiza
,
J.
Davis
,
J.F.
Apperley
, et al
.
2007
.
Impact of HLA class I and class II DNA high-resolution HLA typing on clinical outcome in adult unrelated stem cell transplantation after in vivo T-cell depletion with alemtuzumab
.
Transpl. Immunol
.
18
:
179
185
.
Pruetpongpun
,
N.
,
T.
Khawcharoenporn
,
P.
Damronglerd
,
W.
Suthiwartnarueput
,
A.
Apisarnthanarak
,
S.
Rujanavej
, and
N.
Suwantarat
.
2016
.
Disseminated Talaromyces marneffei and Mycobacterium abscessus in a Patient With Anti-Interferon-γ Autoantibodies
.
Open Forum Infect. Dis
.
3
. ofw093.
Ramos-e-Silva
,
M.
,
C.M.
Lima
,
R.C.
Schechtman
,
B.M.
Trope
, and
S.
Carneiro
.
2012
.
Systemic mycoses in immunodepressed patients (AIDS)
.
Clin. Dermatol
.
30
:
616
627
.
Robinson
,
J.
,
M.J.
Waller
,
P.
Parham
,
J.G.
Bodmer
, and
S.G.
Marsh
.
2001
.
IMGT/HLA Database--a sequence database for the human major histocompatibility complex
.
Nucleic Acids Res
.
29
:
210
213
.
Roilides
,
E.
,
C.A.
Lyman
,
T.
Sein
,
R.
Petraitiene
, and
T.J.
Walsh
.
2003
.
Macrophage colony-stimulating factor enhances phagocytosis and oxidative burst of mononuclear phagocytes against Penicillium marneffei conidia
.
FEMS Immunol. Med. Microbiol
.
36
:
19
26
.
Sisto
,
F.
,
A.
Miluzio
,
O.
Leopardi
,
M.
Mirra
,
J.R.
Boelaert
, and
D.
Taramelli
.
2003
.
Differential cytokine pattern in the spleens and livers of BALB/c mice infected with Penicillium marneffei: protective role of gamma interferon
.
Infect. Immun
.
71
:
465
473
.
Tanaka
,
Y.
,
T.
Hori
,
K.
Ito
,
T.
Fujita
,
T.
Ishikawa
, and
T.
Uchiyama
.
2007
.
Disseminated Mycobacterium avium complex infection in a patient with autoantibody to interferon-γ
.
Intern. Med
.
46
:
1005
1009
.
Tang
,
B.S.
,
J.F.
Chan
,
M.
Chen
,
O.T.
Tsang
,
M.Y.
Mok
,
R.W.
Lai
,
R.
Lee
,
T.L.
Que
,
H.
Tse
,
I.W.
Li
, et al
.
2010
.
Disseminated penicilliosis, recurrent bacteremic nontyphoidal salmonellosis, and burkholderiosis associated with acquired immunodeficiency due to autoantibody against gamma interferon
.
Clin. Vaccine Immunol
.
17
:
1132
1138
.
Vanittanakom
,
N.
,
C.R.
Cooper
, Jr.
,
M.C.
Fisher
, and
T.
Sirisanthana
.
2006
.
Penicillium marneffei infection and recent advances in the epidemiology and molecular biology aspects
.
Clin. Microbiol. Rev
.
19
:
95
110
.

Competing Interests

Disclosures: The authors declare no competing interests exist.

Author notes

*

J. Guo, X.-Q. Ning, J.-Y. Ding, and Y.-Q. Zheng contributed equally to this paper.

**

C.-L. Ku and C.-W. Cao contributed equally to this paper.

This article is distributed under the terms of an Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike–No Mirror Sites license for the first six months after the publication date (see http://www.rupress.org/terms/). After six months it is available under a Creative Commons License (Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike 4.0 International license, as described at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/).