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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 Nov 20;104(47):18631-5. Epub 2007 Nov 15.

Human -defensin-3 activates professional antigen-presenting cells via Toll-like receptors 1 and 2.

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  • 1Departments of Molecular Biology and Microbiology and Pathology, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA.


There is increasing evidence that innate and adaptive immune responses are intimately linked. This linkage is in part mediated through the recognition of conserved microbial products by Toll-like receptors (TLRs). Detection of microbial products by TLRs can result in induction of inflammatory cytokines and activation of professional antigen-presenting cells, thereby enhancing adaptive immune responses. Here, we show that human beta-defensin-3 (hBD-3), an innate antimicrobial peptide, can induce expression of the costimulatory molecules CD80, CD86, and CD40, on monocytes and myeloid dendritic cells in a TLR-dependent manner. Activation of monocytes by hBD-3 is mediated by interaction with TLRs 1 and 2, resulting in signaling that requires myeloid differentiating factor 88 and results in IL-1 receptor-associated kinase-1 phosphorylation. In studies with HEK cells engineered to express various TLRs, we show that activation of NF-kappaB by hBD-3 depends on the expression of both TLR1 and TLR2. Thus, human TLR signaling is not restricted to recognition of microbial patterns but also can be initiated by host-derived peptides such as hBD-3.

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