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Infect Immun. 2006 May;74(5):2809-16.

Toll-like receptor 2 is required for inflammatory responses to Francisella tularensis LVS.

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  • 1Department of Pediatric Dentistry, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294, USA.


Francisella tularensis, a gram-negative bacterium, is the etiologic agent of tularemia and has recently been classified as a category A bioterrorism agent. Infections with F. tularensis result in an inflammatory response that plays an important role in the pathogenesis of the disease; however, the cellular mechanisms mediating this response have not been completely elucidated. In the present study, we determined the role of Toll-like receptors (TLRs) in mediating inflammatory responses to F. tularensis LVS, and the role of NF-kappaB in regulating these responses. Stimulation of bone marrow-derived dendritic cells from C57BL/6 wild-type (wt) and TLR4-/- but not TLR2-/- mice, with live F. tularensis LVS elicited a dose-dependent increase in the production of tumor necrosis factor alpha. F. tularensis LVS also induced in a dose-dependent manner an up-regulation in the expression of the costimulatory molecules CD80 and CD86 and of CD40 and the major histocompatibility complex class II molecules on dendritic cells from wt and TLR4-/- but not TLR2-/- mice. TLR6, not TLR1, was shown to be involved in mediating the inflammatory response to F. tularensis LVS, indicating that the functional heterodimer is TLR2/TLR6. Stimulation of dendritic cells with F. tularensis resulted in the activation of NF-kappaB, which resulted in a differential effect on the production of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines. Taken together, our results demonstrate the role of TLR2/TLR6 in the host's inflammatory response to F. tularensis LVS in vitro and the regulatory function of NF-kappaB in modulating the inflammatory response.

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