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J Biol Chem. 2007 Jan 12;282(2):1010-7. Epub 2006 Nov 22.

Specific high affinity interactions of monomeric endotoxin.protein complexes with Toll-like receptor 4 ectodomain.

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  • 1Inflammation Program, Department of Internal Medicine, Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, University of Iowa, and Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Iowa City, Iowa 52242, USA.


Potent Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) activation by endotoxin has been intensely studied, but the molecular requirements for endotoxin interaction with TLR4 are still incompletely defined. Ligand-receptor interactions involving endotoxin and TLR4 were characterized using monomeric endotoxin.protein complexes of high specific radioactivity. The binding of endotoxin.MD-2 to the TLR4 ectodomain (TLR4ECD) and transfer of endotoxin from CD14 to MD-2/TLR4ECD were demonstrated using HEK293T-conditioned medium containing TLR4ECD+/-MD-2. These interactions are specific, of high affinity (KD<300 pm), and consistent with the molecular requirements for potent cell activation by endotoxin. Both reactions result in the formation of a Mr approximately 190,000 complex composed of endotoxin, MD-2, and TLR4ECD. CD14 facilitates transfer of endotoxin to MD-2 (TLR4) but is not a stable component of the endotoxin.MD-2/TLR4 complex. The ability to assay specific high affinity interactions of monomeric endotoxin.protein complexes with TLR4ECD should allow better definition of the structural requirements for endotoxin-induced TLR4 activation.

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