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J Immunol. 2001 Jul 15;167(2):987-94.

Cooperation of Toll-like receptor 2 and 6 for cellular activation by soluble tuberculosis factor and Borrelia burgdorferi outer surface protein A lipoprotein: role of Toll-interacting protein and IL-1 receptor signaling molecules in Toll-like receptor 2 signaling.

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  • 1Division of Pediatric Critical Care, Ahmanson Department of Pediatrics, Steven Spielberg Pediatric Research Center, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA 90048, USA.


Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) and TLR4 play important roles in innate immune responses to various microbial agents. We have previously shown that human dermal endothelial cells (HMEC) express TLR4, but very little TLR2, and respond to LPS, but not to Mycobacterium tuberculosis 19-kDa lipoprotein, unless transfected with TLR2. Here we report that HMEC are unresponsive to several additional biologically relevant TLR2 ligands, including, phenol-soluble modulin (PSM), a complex of three small secreted polypeptides from the skin commensal Staphylococcus epidermidis, soluble tuberculosis factor (STF), and Borrelia burgdorferi outer surface protein A lipoprotein (OspA-L). Expression of TLR2 renders HMEC responsive to all these ligands. We further characterized the signaling pathway in response to STF, OspA-L, and PSM in TLR2-transfected HMEC. The TLR2 signaling pathway for NF-kappaB trans-activation shares the IL-1R signaling molecules. Dominant negative constructs of TLR2 or TLR6 inhibit the responses of STF and OspA-L as well as PSM in TLR2-transfected HMEC, supporting the concept of functional cooperation between TLR2 and TLR6 for all these TLR2 ligands. Moreover, we show that Toll-interacting protein (Tollip) coimmunoprecipitates with TLR2 and TLR4 using HEK 293 cells, and overexpression of Tollip inhibits NF-kappaB activation in response to TLR2 and TLR4 signaling. Collectively, these findings suggest that there is functional interaction between TLR2 and TLR6 in the cellular response to STF and OspA-L in addition to S. epidermidis (PSM) Ags, and that engagement of TLR2 triggers a signaling cascade, which shares the IL-1R signaling molecules, similar to the TLR4-LPS signaling cascade. Our data also suggest that Tollip may be an important constituent of both the TLR2 and TLR4 signaling pathways.

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