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Eur J Immunol. 2008 Dec;38(12):3316-26. doi: 10.1002/eji.200838484.

B and CD4+ T-cell expression of TLR2 is critical for optimal induction of a T-cell-dependent humoral immune response to intact Streptococcus pneumoniae.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD 20814, USA.


TLR2(-/-) mice immunized with Streptococcus pneumoniae (Pn) elicit normal IgM, but defective CD4(+) T-cell-dependent type 1 IgG isotype production, associated with a largely intact innate immune response. We studied the T-cell-dependent phosphorylcholine (PC)-specific IgG3 versus the T-cell-independent IgM response to Pn to determine whether TLR2 signals directly via the adaptive immune system. Pn-activated TLR2(-/-) BMDC have only a modest defect in cytokine secretion, undergo normal maturation, and when transferred into naïve WT mice elicit a normal IgM and IgG3 anti-PC response, relative to WT BMDC. Pn synergizes with BCR and TCR signaling for DNA synthesis in purified WT B and CD4(+)T cells, respectively, but is defective in cells lacking TLR2. Pn primes TLR2(-/-) mice for a normal CD4(+) T-cell IFN-gamma recall response. Notably, TLR2(-/-) B cells transferred into RAG-2(-/-) mice with WT CD4(+)T cells, or TLR2(-/-) CD4(+)T cells transferred into athymic nude mice, each elicit a defective IgG3, in contrast to normal IgM, anti-PC response relative to WT cells. These data are the first to demonstrate a major role for B-cell and CD4(+) T-cell expression of TLR2 for eliciting an anti-bacterial humoral immune response.

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