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J Immunol. 2008 May 1;180(9):5799-803.

Cutting edge: Overlapping functions of TLR7 and TLR9 for innate defense against a herpesvirus infection.

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  • 1Centre d'Immunologie de Marseille-Luminy, Université de la Méditerranée, Parc Scientifique de Luminy, Marseille Cedex 09, France.


As initially demonstrated with murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV), plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) are the major source of IFN-alpha/beta in response to a variety of viruses in vivo. However, contradictory results have been obtained pertaining to the mechanisms promoting IFN-alpha/beta production by pDCs in response to MCMV. In this study we show that TLR7 and TLR9 exert redundant functions for IFN-alpha/beta, IL-12p40, and TNF-alpha production by pDCs in vivo during MCMV infection. In contrast, we confirm that systemic production of IL-12p70 strictly depends on TLR9. The combined loss of TLR7 and TLR9 recapitulates critical features of the phenotype of MyD88-deficient mice, including a dramatic decrease in systemic IFN-alpha/beta levels, an increase in viral load, and increased susceptibility to MCMV-induced mortality. This is the first demonstration of the implication of TLR7 in the recognition of a DNA virus.

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