The innate immune response to Pneumocystis infection is not well understood. In this study, normal C57BL/6 mouse alveolar macrophages were found to respond to Pneumocystis murina organisms through Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2), leading to the nuclear translocation of NF-κB and the production of proinflammatory cytokine tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) and chemokine macrophage inflammatory protein 2 (MIP-2). P. murina stimulation of normal alveolar macrophages from C57BL/6 mice resulted in increased TLR2 transcription but not increased TLR4 transcription. In gain-of-function studies with HEK293 cells expressing TLR2 or TLR4, only TLR2 was found to stimulate an NF-κB response to P. murina. TNF-α and MIP-2 production in response to P. murina by moose alveolar macrophages was inhibited by a monoclonal antibody that specifically blocked the ligand-binding ability of TLR2. Alveolar macrophages from TLR2 knockout (TLR2-/-) mice showed little increase in TNF-α and MIP-2 mRNA levels upon P. murina stimulation. An in vivo study showed that TLR2-/- mice challenged with P. murina had reduced cytokine responses. These results indicate that TLR2 plays a major role in the innate immune response to P. murina.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases