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Mol Immunol. 2011 Oct;49(1-2):143-54. doi: 10.1016/j.molimm.2011.08.001. Epub 2011 Sep 8.

Vibrio vulnificus IlpA induces MAPK-mediated cytokine production via TLR1/2 activation in THP-1 cells, a human monocytic cell line.

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Department of Environmental Medical Biology and Institute of Tropical Medicine, Brain Korea 21 Project, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul 120-752, Republic of Korea.


Vibrio vulnificus is a pathogenic bacterium causing primary septicemia, which is followed by a classical septic shock pathway including an overwhelming inflammatory cytokine response. V. vulnificus IlpA is a potent immunogenic lipoprotein that triggers cytokine production in human monocytes by activating the toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2). In this study, we further defined the IlpA signaling pathways involved in cytokine production in the human monocytic cell line, THP-1. TLR2 was involved in cytokine production by complexing with TLR1, but not with TLR6. MyD88 was necessary for IlpA-induced cytokine expression through TLR1/TLR2. Three mitogen activated protein kinases (MAPK), p38, ERK1/2, and JNK, were activated in THP-1 cells stimulated with recombinant IlpA (rIlpA). Selective inhibition of each MAPK resulted in significant decrease of rIlpA-induced cytokine production. Especially, functional TLR2 was necessary for IlpA-induced activation of p38 and JNK. IlpA augmented the DNA-binding activity of nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-κB) and activator protein-1 (AP-1) transcriptional factors to their recognition sites in THP-1 cells. These results suggest that serial activation of TLR1/TLR2, MyD88, the three MAPKs, and NF-κB/AP-1 comprises the signaling pathway responsible for proinflammatory cytokine production by V. vulnificus IlpA.

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