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J Biol Chem. 2012 Jul 13;287(29):24641-8. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M112.360925. Epub 2012 May 30.

Targeting Toll-like receptor (TLR) signaling by Toll/interleukin-1 receptor (TIR) domain-containing adapter protein/MyD88 adapter-like (TIRAP/Mal)-derived decoy peptides.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21201, USA.


Toll/interleukin-1 receptor (TIR) domain-containing adapter protein/MyD88 adapter-like (TIRAP/Mal) is an adapter protein that facilitates recruitment of MyD88 to TLR4 and TLR2 signaling complexes. We previously generated a library of cell-permeating TLR4 TIR-derived decoy peptides fused to the translocating segment of the Drosophila Antennapedia homeodomain and examined each peptide for the ability to inhibit TLR4 signaling (Toshchakov, V. Y., Szmacinski, H., Couture, L. A., Lakowicz, J. R., and Vogel, S. N. (2011) J. Immunol. 186, 4819-4827). We have now expanded this study to test TIRAP decoy peptides. Five TIRAP peptides, TR3 (for TIRAP region 3), TR5, TR6, TR9, and TR11, inhibited LPS-induced cytokine mRNA expression and MAPK activation. Inhibition was confirmed at the protein level; select peptides abolished the LPS-induced cytokine production measured in cell culture 24 h after a single treatment. Two of the TLR4 inhibitory peptides, TR3 and TR6, also inhibited cytokine production induced by a TLR2/TLR1 agonist, S-(2,3-bis(palmitoyloxy)-(2R,2S)-propyl)-N-palmitoyl-(R)-Cys-Ser-Lys(4)-OH; however, a higher peptide concentration was required to achieve comparable inhibition of TLR2 versus TLR4 signaling. Two TLR4 inhibitory peptides, TR5 and TR6, were examined for the ability to inhibit TLR4-driven cytokine induction in mice. Pretreatment with either peptide significantly reduced circulating TNF-α and IL-6 in mice following LPS injection. This study has identified novel TLR inhibitory peptides that block cellular signaling at low micromolar concentrations in vitro and in vivo. Comparison of TLR4 inhibition by TLR4 and TIRAP TIR-derived peptides supports the view that structurally diverse regions mediate functional interactions of TIR domains.

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