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J Exp Med. 2003 Oct 6;198(7):1035-42. Epub 2003 Sep 29.

Lipopolysaccharide interaction with cell surface Toll-like receptor 4-MD-2: higher affinity than that with MD-2 or CD14.

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Division of Infectious Genetics, The Institute of Medical Science, The University of Tokyo, 4-6-1 Shirokanedai, Minatoku, Tokyo 108-8639, Japan.


Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are innate recognition molecules for microbial products, but their direct interactions with corresponding ligands remain unclarified. LPS, a membrane constituent of gram-negative bacteria, is the best-studied TLR ligand and is recognized by TLR4 and MD-2, a molecule associated with the extracellular domain of TLR4. Although TLR4-MD-2 recognizes LPS, little is known about the physical interaction between LPS and TLR4-MD-2. Here, we demonstrate cell surface LPS-TLR4-MD-2 complexes. CD14 greatly enhances the formation of LPS-TLR4-MD-2 complexes, but is not coprecipitated with LPS-TLR4-MD-2 complexes, suggesting a role for CD14 in LPS loading onto TLR4-MD-2 but not in the interaction itself between LPS and TLR4-MD-2. A tentative dissociation constant (Kd) for LPS-TLR4-MD-2 complexes was approximately 3 nM, which is approximately 10-20 times lower than the reported Kd for LPS-MD-2 or LPS-CD14. The presence of detergent disrupts LPS interaction with CD14 but not with TLR4-MD-2. E5531, a lipid A antagonist developed for therapeutic intervention of endotoxin shock, blocks LPS interaction with TLR4-MD-2 at a concentration 100 times lower than that required for blocking LPS interaction with CD14. These results reveal direct LPS interaction with cell surface TLR4-MD-2 that is distinct from that with MD-2 or CD14.

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