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J Immunol. 2006 Sep 15;177(6):3994-4001.

Aspergillus fumigatus induces innate immune responses in alveolar macrophages through the MAPK pathway independently of TLR2 and TLR4.

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Unité des Aspergillus, Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale E336, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France.


Aspergillus fumigatus causes invasive aspergillosis in immunosuppressed patients. In the immunocompetent host, inhaled conidia are cleared by alveolar macrophages. The signaling pathways of the alveolar macrophage involved in the clearance of A. fumigatus are poorly understood. Therefore, we investigated the role of TLRs in the immune response against A. fumigatus and their contribution to the signaling events triggered in murine alveolar macrophages upon infection with A. fumigatus conidia. Specifically, we examined the MAPKs and NF-kappaB activation and cytokine signaling. Our investigations revealed that immunocompetent TLR2, TLR4, and MyD88 knockout mice were not more susceptible to invasive aspergillosis as compared with wild-type mice and that the in vitro phosphorylation of the MAPKs ERK and p38 was not affected in TLR2, TLR4, or MyD88 knockout mice following stimulation with conidia. In vivo experiments suggest that ERK was an essential MAPK in the defense against A. fumigatus, whereas the activation of NF-kappaB appeared to play only a secondary role. In conclusion, our findings demonstrate that TLR2/4 recognition and MyD88 signaling are dispensable for the clearance of A. fumigatus under immunocompetent situations. Furthermore, our data stress the important role of ERK activation in innate immunity to A. fumigatus.

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