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Infect Immun. 2011 Nov;79(11):4688-95. doi: 10.1128/IAI.05289-11. Epub 2011 Aug 15.

Interleukin-1 receptor-associated kinase 4 is essential for initial host control of Brucella abortus infection.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Immunology, Institute of Biological Sciences, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil.


Brucella abortus is a facultative intracellular bacterial pathogen that causes abortion in domestic animals and undulant fever in humans. Recent studies have revealed that Toll-like receptor (TLR)-initiated immune response to Brucella spp. depends on myeloid differentiation factor 88 (MyD88) signaling. Therefore, we decided to study the role of the interleukin-1 receptor-associated kinase 4 (IRAK-4) in host innate immune response against B. abortus. After Brucella infection, it was shown that the number of CFU in IRAK-4(-/-) mice was high compared to that in IRAK-4(+/-) animals only at 1 week postinfection. At 3 and 6 weeks postinfection, IRAK-4(-/-) mice were able to control the infection similarly to heterozygous animals. Furthermore, the type 1 cytokine profile was evaluated. IRAK-4(-/-) mice showed lower production of systemic interleukin-12 (IL-12) and gamma interferon (IFN-γ). Additionally, a reduced percentage of CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells expressing IFN-γ was observed compared to IRAK-4(+/-). Further, the production of IL-12 and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) by macrophages and dendritic cells from IRAK-4(-/-) mice was abolished at 24 h after stimulation with B. abortus. To investigate the role of IRAK-4 in mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and NF-κB signaling pathways, macrophages were stimulated with B. abortus, and the signaling components were analyzed by protein phosphorylation. Extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1 (ERK1) and ERK2 and p38 as well as p65 NF-κB phosphorylation was profoundly impaired in IRAK-4(-/-) and MyD88(-/-) macrophages activated by Brucella. In summary, the results shown in this study demonstrated that IRAK-4 is critical to trigger the initial immune response against B. abortus but not at later phases of infection.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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