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J Immunol. 2006 Feb 15;176(4):2373-80.

Meningococcal porin PorB binds to TLR2 and requires TLR1 for signaling.

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Evans BioMedical Research Center, Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, MA 02118, USA.


TLR2 plays a key role in the initiation of the cellular innate immune responses by a wide range of bacterial products. TLRs signaling, including TLR2 and its coreceptors TLR1 and TLR6, is mediated by a number of specific ligands. Although many of the TLR-mediated cell signaling pathways have been elucidated in the past few years, the molecular mechanisms that lead to cell activation are still poorly understood. In this study, we investigate the interaction of PorB from Neisseria meningitidis with TLR2 and describe the direct binding of a bacterial protein to TLR2 for the first time. Using labeled PorB, we demonstrate its binding to TLR2 both in its soluble form in vitro, and when it is over-expressed on the surface of human embryonic kidney 293 cells. We also show that TLR2-mediated binding of PorB is directly related to cellular activation. In addition, using 293 cells expressing the chimeric TLR2/TLR1 and TLR2/TLR6 complexes, we report the selectivity of PorB binding to the TLR2/TLR1 heterodimer, which is required for initiating signaling in transfected 293 cells and in murine B cells. Together, these data provide new evidence that TLR2 recognizes PorB through direct binding, and that PorB-induced cell activation is mediated by a TLR2/TLR1 complex.

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