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J Immunol. 2003 May 15;170(10):5165-75.

The Toll-like receptor 5 stimulus bacterial flagellin induces maturation and chemokine production in human dendritic cells.

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Center for Immunology and Inflammatory Diseases and Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02129, USA.


Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are pattern recognition receptors that serve an important function in detecting pathogens and initiating inflammatory responses. Upon encounter with foreign Ag, dendritic cells (DCs) go through a maturation process characterized by an increase in surface expression of MHC class II and costimulatory molecules, which leads to initiation of an effective immune response in naive T cells. The innate immune response to bacterial flagellin is mediated by TLR5, which is expressed on human DCs. Therefore, we sought to investigate whether flagellin could induce DC maturation. Immature DCs were cultured in the absence or presence of flagellin and monitored for expression of cell surface maturation markers. Stimulation with flagellin induced increased surface expression of CD83, CD80, CD86, MHC class II, and the lymph node-homing chemokine receptor CCR7. Flagellin stimulated the expression of chemokines active on neutrophils (IL-8/CXC chemokine ligand (CXCL)8, GRO-alpha/CXCL1, GRO-beta/CXCL2, GRO-gamma/CXCL3), monocytes (monocyte chemoattractant protein-1/CC chemokine ligand (CCL)2), and immature DCs (macrophage-inflammatory protein-1 alpha/CCL3, macrophage-inflammatory protein-1 beta/CCL4), but not chemokines active on effector T cells (IFN-inducible protein-10 kDa/CXCL10, monokine induced by IFN-gamma/CXCL9, IFN-inducible T cell alpha chemoattractant/CXCL11). However, stimulating DCs with both flagellin and IFN-inducible protein-10 kDa, monokine induced by IFN-gamma, and IFN-inducible T cell alpha chemoattractant expression, whereas stimulation with IFN-beta or flagellin alone failed to induce these chemokines. In functional assays, flagellin-matured DCs displayed enhanced T cell stimulatory activity with a concomitant decrease in endocytic activity. Finally, DCs isolated from mouse spleens or bone marrows were shown to not express TLR5 and were not responsive to flagellin stimulation. These results demonstrate that flagellin can directly stimulate human but not murine DC maturation, providing an additional mechanism by which motile bacteria can initiate an acquired immune response.

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