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J Biol Chem. 2011 Oct 21;286(42):37032-44. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M111.260414. Epub 2011 Aug 23.

Pathogen-specific TLR2 protein activation programs macrophages to induce Wnt-beta-catenin signaling.

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Department of Microbiology and Cell Biology, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore 560012, India.


Innate immunity recognizes and resists various pathogens; however, the mechanisms regulating pathogen versus nonpathogen discrimination are still imprecisely understood. Here, we demonstrate that pathogen-specific activation of TLR2 upon infection with Mycobacterium bovis BCG, in comparison with other pathogenic microbes, including Salmonella typhimurium and Staphylococcus aureus, programs macrophages for robust up-regulation of signaling cohorts of Wnt-β-catenin signaling. Signaling perturbations or genetic approaches suggest that infection-mediated stimulation of Wnt-β-catenin is vital for activation of Notch1 signaling. Interestingly, inducible NOS (iNOS) activity is pivotal for TLR2-mediated activation of Wnt-β-catenin signaling as iNOS(-/-) mice demonstrated compromised ability to trigger activation of Wnt-β-catenin signaling as well as Notch1-mediated cellular responses. Intriguingly, TLR2-driven integration of iNOS/NO, Wnt-β-catenin, and Notch1 signaling contributes to its capacity to regulate the battery of genes associated with T(Reg) cell lineage commitment. These findings reveal a role for differential stimulation of TLR2 in deciding the strength of Wnt-β-catenin signaling, which together with signals from Notch1 contributes toward the modulation of a defined set of effector functions in macrophages and thus establishes a conceptual framework for the development of novel therapeutics.

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