Toll-like receptor 3 deficiency leads to altered immune responses to chlamydia trachomatis infection in human oviduct epithelial cells

Jerry Z. Xu, Ramesh Kumar, Haoli Gong, Luyao Liu, Nicole Ramos-Solis, Yujing Li, Wilbert A. Derbigny

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Reproductive tract pathology caused by Chlamydia trachomatis infection is an important global cause of human infertility. To better understand the mechanisms associated with Chlamydia-induced genital tract pathogenesis in humans, we used CRISPR genome editing to disrupt Toll-like receptor 3 (TLR3) function in the human oviduct epithelial (hOE) cell line OE-E6/E7 in order to investigate the possible role(s) of TLR3 signaling in the immune response to Chlamydia. Disruption of TLR3 function in these cells significantly diminished the Chlamydia-induced synthesis of several inflammation biomarkers, including interferon beta (IFN-), interleukin-6 (IL-6), interleukin-6 receptor alpha (IL-6R), soluble interleukin-6 receptor beta (sIL-6R, or gp130), IL-8, IL-20, IL-26, IL-34, soluble tumor necrosis factor receptor 1 (sTNF-R1), tumor necrosis factor ligand superfamily member 13B (TNFSF13B), matrix metalloprotei-nase 1 (MMP-1), MMP-2, and MMP-3. In contrast, the Chlamydia-induced synthesis of CCL5, IL-29 (IFN-1), and IL-28A (IFN-2) was significantly increased in TLR3-deficient hOE cells compared to their wild-type counterparts. Our results indicate a role for TLR3 signaling in limiting the genital tract fibrosis, scarring, and chronic inflammation often associated with human chlamydial disease. Interestingly, we saw that Chlamydia infection induced the production of biomarkers associated with persistence, tumor metastasis, and autoimmunity, such as soluble CD163 (sCD163), chitinase-3-like protein 1, osteopontin, and pentraxin-3, in hOE cells; however, their expression levels were significantly dysregulated in TLR3-deficient hOE cells. Finally, we demonstrate using hOE cells that TLR3 deficiency resulted in an increased amount of chlamydial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) within Chlamydia inclusions, which is suggestive that TLR3 deficiency leads to enhanced chlamydial replication and possibly increased genital tract pathogenesis during human infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere00483-19
JournalInfection and immunity
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019


  • Chlamydia trachomatis
  • Epithelial cells
  • Inflammation
  • Oviducts
  • TLR3

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases

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