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Cell Res. 2008 Jul;18(7):745-55. doi: 10.1038/cr.2008.65.

MyD88-independent activation of a novel actin-Cdc42/Rac pathway is required for Toll-like receptor-stimulated phagocytosis.

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Institute of Health Science, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Shanghai Jiao-Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai 200032, China.


Phagocytosis and subsequent degradation of pathogens by macrophages play a pivotal role in host innate immune responses to microbial infection. Recent studies have shown that Toll-like receptors (TLRs) play an important role in promoting the clearance of bacteria by up-regulating the phagocytic activity of macrophages. However, information regarding the signaling mechanism of TLR-mediated phagocytosis is still limited. Here, we provide evidence that the stimulation of TLR4 with LPS leads to activation of multiple signaling pathways including MAP kinases, phosphatidylinositide 3-kinase (PI3K), and small GTPases in the murine macrophage-like cell line RAW264.7. Specific inhibition of Cdc42/Rac or p38 MAP kinase, but not PI3K, reduced TLR4-induced phagocytosis of bacteria. Moreover, we have found that either inhibition of actin polymerization by cytochalasin D or the knockdown of actin by RNAi markedly reduced the activation of Cdc42 and Rac by LPS. TLR4-induced activation of Cdc42 and Rac appears to be independent of MyD88. Taken together, our results described a novel actin-Cdc42/Rac pathway through which TLRs can specifically provoke phagocytosis.

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