Central role of toll-like receptor 4 signaling and host defense in experimental pneumonia caused by gram-negative bacteria

Academic Article


  • Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) has been identified as a receptor for lipopolysaccharide. However, the precise role of TLR4 in regulating gene expression in response to an infection caused by gram-negative bacteria has not been fully elucidated. The role of TLR4 signaling in coordinating gene expression was assessed by gene expression profiling in lung tissue in a mouse model of experimental pneumonia with a low-dose infection of Klebsiella pneumoniae. We analyzed four mouse strains: C57BL/6 mice, which are resistant to bacterial dissemination; 129/SvJ mice, which are susceptible; C3H/HeJ mice, which are susceptible and have defective TLR4 signaling; and their respective control strain, C3H/HeN (intermediate resistance). At 4 h after infection, C57BL/6 and C3H/HeN mice demonstrated the greatest number of genes, with 67 shared induced genes which were TLR4 dependent and highly associated with the resistance phenotype. These genes included cytokine and chemokine genes required for neutrophil activation or recruitment, growth factor receptors, MyD88 (a critical adaptor protein for TLR signaling), and adhesion molecules. TLR4 signaling accounted for over 74% of the gene expression in the C3H background. These data suggest that early TLR4 signaling controls the vast majority of gene expression in the lung in response to an infection caused by gram-negative bacteria and that this subsequent gene expression determines survival of the host.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Schurr JR; Young E; Byrne P; Steele C; Shellito JE; Kolls JK
  • Start Page

  • 532
  • End Page

  • 545
  • Volume

  • 73
  • Issue

  • 1