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J Biol Chem. 2002 Apr 26;277(17):15107-12. Epub 2002 Feb 12.

HSP70 as endogenous stimulus of the Toll/interleukin-1 receptor signal pathway.

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Institute of Medical Microbiology, Immunology and Hygiene, Technical University of Munich, Trogerstrasse 9, Munich 81675, Germany.


Human heat-shock protein (HSP)70 activates innate immune cells and hence requires no additional adjuvants to render bound peptides immunogenic. Here we tested the assumption that endogenous HSP70 activates the Toll/IL-1 receptor signal pathway similar to HSP60 and pathogen-derived molecular patterns. We show that HSP70 induces interleukin-12 (IL-12) and endothelial cell-leukocyte adhesion molecule-1 (ELAM-1) promoters in macrophages and that this is controlled by MyD88 and TRAF6. Furthermore, HSP70 causes MyD88 relocalization and MyD88-deficient dendritic cells do not respond to HSP70 with proinflammatory cytokine production. Using the system of genetic complementation with Toll-like receptors (TLR) we found that TLR2 and TLR4 confer responsiveness to HSP70 in 293T fibroblasts. The expanding list of endogenous ligands able to activate the ancient Toll/IL-1 receptor signal pathway is in line with the "danger hypothesis" proposing that the innate immune system senses danger signals even if they originate from self.

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