Epithelial cells lining the murine genital tract act as sentinels for microbial infection, play a major role in the initiation of the early inflammatory response, and can secrete factors that modulate the adaptive immune response when infected with Chlamydia. C. muridarum-infected murine oviduct epithelial cells secrete the inflammatory cytokines IL-6 and GM-CSF in a TLR2-dependent manner. Further, C. muridarum infection induces IFN-β synthesis in the oviduct epithelial cells in a TRIF-dependent manner. Because murine oviduct epithelial cells express TLR3 but not TLRs 4, 7, 8, or 9, we hypothesized that TLR3 or an unknown TRIF-dependent pattern recognition receptor was the critical receptor for IFN-β production. To investigate the role of TLR3 in the Chlamydia-induced IFN-β response in oviduct epithelial cells, we used small interfering RNA, dominant-negative TLR3 mutants, and TLR3-deficient oviduct epithelial cells to show that the IFN-β secreted during C. muridarum infection requires a functional TLR3. Interestingly, we demonstrate that the TLR3 signaling pathway is not required for IFN-β synthesis in C. muridaruminfected macrophages, suggesting that there are alternate and redundant pathways to Chlamydia-induced IFN-β synthesis that seem to be dependent upon the cell type infected. Finally, because there is no obvious dsRNA molecule associated with Chlamydia infection, the requirement for TLR3 in Chlamydia-induced IFN-β synthesis in infected oviduct epithelial cells implicates a novel ligand that binds to and signals through TLR3.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy