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Nat Immunol. 2002 Jul;3(7):667-72. Epub 2002 Jun 10.

Essential role of MD-2 in LPS responsiveness and TLR4 distribution.

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Division of Infectious Genetics, The Institute of Medical Science, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan.


Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) mediates lipopolysaccharide (LPS) signaling in a variety of cell types. MD-2 is associated with the extracellular domain of TLR4 and augments TLR4-dependent LPS responses in vitro. We show here that MD-2(-/-) mice do not respond to LPS, do survive endotoxic shock but are susceptible to Salmonella typhimurium infection. We found that in MD-2(-/-) embryonic fibroblasts, TLR4 was not able to reach the plasma membrane and predominantly resided in the Golgi apparatus, whereas TLR4 was distributed at the leading edge surface of cells in wild-type embryonic fibroblasts. Thus, MD-2 is essential for correct intracellular distribution and LPS-recognition of TLR4.

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