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J Immunol. 2011 Jul 1;187(1):141-50. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1003740. Epub 2011 Jun 6.

MyD88-dependent TLR1/2 signals educate dendritic cells with gut-specific imprinting properties.

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  • 1Gastrointestinal Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114, USA.


Gut-associated dendritic cells (DC) synthesize all-trans retinoic acid, which is required for inducing gut-tropic lymphocytes. Gut-associated DC from MyD88(-/-) mice, which lack most TLR signals, expressed low levels of retinal dehydrogenases (critical enzymes for all-trans retinoic acid biosynthesis) and were significantly impaired in their ability to induce gut-homing T cells. Pretreatment of extraintestinal DC with a TLR1/2 agonist was sufficient to induce retinal dehydrogenases and to confer these DC with the capacity to induce gut-homing lymphocytes via a mechanism dependent on MyD88 and JNK/MAPK. Moreover, gut-associated DC from TLR2(-/-) mice, or from mice in which JNK was pharmacologically blocked, were impaired in their education to imprint gut-homing T cells, which correlated with a decreased induction of gut-tropic T cells in TLR2(-/-) mice upon immunization. Thus, MyD88-dependent TLR2 signals are necessary and sufficient to educate DC with gut-specific imprinting properties and contribute in vivo to the generation of gut-tropic T cells.

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