Infection of small laboratory animals by Punta Toro virus (PTV), family Bunyaviridae, genus Phlebovirus, is a model for the study of the human pathogen Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV). We have identified inbred mouse strains with significant differences in host response to the Adames strain of PTV. Nine inbred strains of mice representing major branches in the Mus musculus phylogeny were inoculated subcutaneously with a high dose of PTV in survival experiments. Two inbred strains of mice, NZW/LacJ and 129S1/SvImJ, died ~4 days after PTV infection, whereas 7 other strains survived the challenge and showed no clinical signs of disease. Histologically, 129S1/SvImJ mice showed massive hepatocellular necrosis and had additional lesions in lung, brain, and spleen, whereas NZW/LacJ mice had mild piecemeal hepatocellular necrosis. PTV viral loads in the livers of infected mice were determined by reverse transcriptase quantitative PCR. Inbred mice from strains that showed clinical signs and succumbed to PTV infection had higher liver viral loads than did mice of resistant strains. Hybrid F1 mice were generated by crossing susceptible 129S1 and resistant FVB/N mice and tested for susceptibility. The hybrid F1 mice showed significantly higher viral loads in the liver than the resistant parental FVB/N mice, suggesting that susceptibility is dominant. These findings will enable an unbiased genetic approach to identify host genes mediating susceptibility to PTV.
Bunyaviridae; phlebovirus; murine
To identify the gene responsible for the quantitative trait locus (QTL) Hdlq14, a high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL) QTL previously identified in a C57BL/6J x 129S1/SvImJ cross.
Methods and Results
Hdlq14 was first confirmed as an independent QTL by detecting it in an intercross between NZB/B1NJ and NZW/LacJ, two strains that had identical genotypes at nearby QTL genes on chromosome 1. Using the bioinformatics tools of combined cross data and haplotype analysis, we narrowed this QTL from a 45 Mb, 225 -gene region to 2 genes, Farp2 and Stk25. Sequencing and expression studies showed that Farp2 had an amino acid polymorphism in an important plekstrin domain and that Stk25 had a significant expression difference between the parental strains. These two genes are immediately adjacent to each other and share the same haplotype over 45 inbred strains. The haplotype was associated with a significant difference in HDL levels among these strains.
We confirmed Hdlq14 as a separate independent QTL for HDL and narrowed the region to two genes, Farp2 and Stk25 with considerable evidence for both. Additional studies are needed to choose between these two genes or to show that both are important in determining HDL levels.
HDL; QTL; Farp2; Stk25; mouse
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.
Otitis Media (OM) accounts for more than 20 million clinic visits in the United States every year. Resistance to antibiotics has hampered current management of the disease. Identification of genetic factors underlying susceptibility to OM is greatly needed in order to develop alternative treatment strategies. Genetically defined inbred mouse strains offer a powerful tool for dissecting genetic and environmental factors that may lead to OM in mice. Here we report a study of middle ear function of 61 genetically diverse inbred strains of mice using tympanometry. Of the 61 inbred strains tested, the 129P1/ReJ, 129P3/J, 129S1/SvImJ, 129X1/SvJ, A/HeJ, BALB/cJ, BUB/BnJ, C57L/J, EL/SuzSeyFrkJ, FVB/NJ, I/LnJ, LP/J, NZB/BlNJ, PL/J and YBR/Ei strains exhibited tympanograms that were statistically different from other healthy strains according to parameters including middle ear pressure, volume and compliance. These differences are most likely the result of genetic factors that, when understood, will facilitate prevention and treatment of otitis media in humans. In addition, a negative correlation between age and compliance of the tympanic membrane was discovered. This is the first report to successfully use tympanometry to measure mouse middle ear function, which has been a challenge for the hearing research field because of the mouse’s tiny ear size.
tympanometry; mouse models; middle ear; otitis media
Although the entire mouse genome has been sequenced, there remain challenges concerning the elucidation of particular complex and polymorphic genomic loci. In the murine Igh locus, different haplotypes exist in different inbred mouse strains. For example, the Ighb haplotype sequence of the Mouse Genome Project strain C57BL/6 differs considerably from the Igha haplotype of BALB/c, which has been widely used in the analyses of Ab responses. We have sequenced and annotated the 3′ half of the Igha locus of 129S1/SvImJ, covering the CH region and approximately half of the VH region. This sequence comprises 128 VH genes, of which 49 are judged to be functional. The comparison of the Igha sequence with the homologous Ighb region from C57BL/6 revealed two major expansions in the germline repertoire of Igha. In addition, we found smaller haplotype-specific differences like the duplication of five VH genes in the Igha locus. We generated a VH allele table by comparing the individual VH genes of both haplotypes. Surprisingly, the number and position of DH genes in the 129S1 strain differs not only from the sequence of C57BL/6 but also from the map published for BALB/c. Taken together, the contiguous genomic sequence of the 3′ part of the Igha locus allows a detailed view of the recent evolution of this highly dynamic locus in the mouse.
Toll-like receptor 4 is thought to have a primary role in host defense against Escherichia coli bladder colonization, based on mouse models of urinary tract infection using C3H/HeJ female mice. This strain carries a point mutation in the Tlr4 gene, which renders the mice unresponsive to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and thus limits the bladder inflammatory response and infection resolution. The importance of Tlr4 as the sole genetic determinant of resistance or susceptibility can be questioned, however, by the observation that C3H/HeOuJ female mice with a functional Tlr4 do not effectively resolve E. coli bladder infections. The present study further examined this inconsistency by investigating the association of Tlr4 Lpsd and Lpsn alleles with bladder infection susceptibility by using genetic crosses of C3H/HeJ mice with Tlr4 (Lpsn/Lpsn) or (Lpsn/Lpsd) mice. Heterozygous offspring of C3H/HeJ (Lpsd/Lpsd) × BALB/cAnN (Lpsn/Lpsn) mice successfully resolved bladder infections induced by a uropathogenic E. coli strain, while heterozygous mice from a C3H/HeJ (Lpsd/Lpsd) × C3H/HeOuJ (Lpsn/Lpsn) cross had severe infections. A backcross of C3H/HeJ (Lpsd/Lpsd) with (BALB/cAnN × C3H/HeJ)F1 (Lpsn/Lpsd) produced mice that were either resistant or susceptible to E. coli bladder infections and had Lpsd/Lpsd or Lpsn/Lpsd Tlr4 genotypes. The Lpsd/Lpsd or Lpsn/Lpsd genotypes were present in individual mice with unresolved bladder infections, and the Lpsd/Lpsd genotype was found in infection-resistant mice. These results indicate that at least one gene other than Tlr4 strongly influences susceptibility to E. coli bladder infections in C3H/HeJ mice.
We have previously demonstrated that mouse strains with either a functional or nonfunctional Tlr4 were not able to resolve induced Escherichia coli bladder infections and that a chromosomal site distinct from Tlr4 was associated with an inability to resolve bladder infections in C3H/HeJ mice. The present study has further investigated the relevance of Tlr4 in bladder infection resolution by defining the Tlr4 alleles present in offspring of genetic crosses of C3H/HeJ mice with infection-resistant and -susceptible inbred strains. The results of these experiments showed that mice with a normal Tlr4 on different genetic backgrounds were not able to clear E. coli bladder infections and that animals with a defective Tlr4 could successfully resolve infections. These results strongly imply the presence of a gene other than in Tlr4 as an important genetic determinant of infection resistance/susceptibility in C3H/HeJ and other inbred mouse strains used in mouse models of infectious diseases.
Excessive systemic exposure to fluoride (F) can lead to disturbances in bone homeostasis and dental enamel development. We have previously shown strain-specific responses to F in the development of dental fluorosis (DF) and in bone formation/mineralization. The current study was undertaken to further investigate F responsive variations in bone metabolism and to determine possible relationships with DF susceptibility. Seven-week-old male mice from FVB/NJ, C57BL/6J, C3H/HeJ, A/J, 129S1/SvImJ, AKR/J, DBA/2J, and BALB/cByJ inbred strains were exposed to NaF (0 or 50 ppm as F–) in drinking water for 60 days. Sera were collected for F, Ca, Mg, PO4, iPTH, sRANKL, and ALP levels. Bone marrow cells were subjected to ex vivo cell culture for osteoclast potential and CFU colony assays (CFU-fibroblast, CFU-osteoblast, CFU-erythrocyte/granulocyte/macrophage/megakaryocyte, CFU-granulocyte/macrophage, CFU-macrophage, and CFU-granulocyte). Femurs and vertebrae were subjected to micro-CT analyses, biomechanical testing, and F, Mg, and Ca content assays. DF was evaluated using quantitative fluorescence and clinical criteria. Strain-specific responses to F were observed for DF, serum studies, ex vivo cell culture studies, and bone quality. Among the strains, there were no patterns or significant correlations between DF severity and the actions of F on bone homeostasis (serum studies, ex vivo assays, or bone quality parameters). The genetic background continues to play a role in the actions of F on tooth enamel development and bone homeostasis. F exposure led to variable phenotypic responses between strains involving dental enamel development and bone metabolism.
Fluoride; Fluorosis; Genetics; Bone; Teeth
Bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) provokes a vigorous, generalized proinflammatory state in the infected host. Genetic regulation of this response has been localized to the Lps locus on mouse chromosome 4, through study of the C3H/HeJ and C57BL/10ScCr inbred strains. Both C3H/HeJ and C57BL/10ScCr mice are homozygous for a mutant Lps allele (Lpsd/d) that confers hyporesponsiveness to LPS challenge, and therefore exhibit natural tolerance to its lethal effects. Genetic and physical mapping of 1,345 backcross progeny segregating this mutant phenotype confined Lps to a 0.9-cM interval spanning 1.7 Mb. Three transcription units were identified within the candidate interval, including Toll-like receptor 4 (Tlr4), part of a protein family with members that have been implicated in LPS-induced cell signaling. C3H/HeJ mice have a point mutation within the coding region of the Tlr4 gene, resulting in a nonconservative substitution of a highly conserved proline by histidine at codon 712, whereas C57BL/ 10ScCr mice exhibit a deletion of Tlr4. Identification of distinct mutations involving the same gene at the Lps locus in two different hyporesponsive inbred mouse strains strongly supports the hypothesis that altered Tlr4 function is responsible for endotoxin tolerance.
lipopolysaccharide; inflammation; positional cloning; Salmonella; mice/ inbred C3H
Many neurological and psychiatric disorders are treated with dopamine modulators. Studies in mice may reveal genetic factors underlying those disorders or responsiveness to various treatments, and species and strain differences both complicate the use of mice and provide valuable tools. We evaluated psychomotor effects of the dopamine D1-like agonist R-6-Br-APB and the dopamine D2-like agonist quinelorane using a locomotor activity procedure in 15 mouse strains (inbred 129S1/SvImJ, 129S6/SvEvTac, 129X1/SvJ A/J, BALB/cByJ, BALB/cJ, C3H/HeJ, C57BL/6J, CAST/EiJ, DBA/2J, FVB/NJ, SJL/J, SPRET/EiJ, outbred Swiss Webster and CD-1) and Sprague Dawley rats, using groups of both females and males. Both D1 and D2 stimulation produced hyperactivity in the rats, and surprisingly, only two mouse strains were similar in that regard (C3H/HeJ, SPRET/EiJ). In contrast, the majority of mouse strains exhibited hyperactivity only with D1 stimulation, whereas D2 stimulation had no effect or decreased activity. BALB substrains, A/J and FVB/NJ mice showed only decreased activity following either D1 or D2 stimulation. CAST/EiJ mice exhibited hyperactivity exclusively with D2 stimulation. Sex differences were observed but no systematic trend emerged: For example, of the five strains in which a main factor of sex was identified for the stimulant effects of the D1 agonist, responsiveness was greatest in females in three of those strains and in males in two of those strains. These results should aid in the selection of mouse strains for future studies in which D1 or D2 responsiveness is a necessary consideration in the experimental design.
quinelorane; R-6-Br-APB; mouse strains; locomotor activity; direct dopamine agonists
Toll like receptors play an important role in lung host defense against bacterial pathogens. In this study, we investigated independent and cooperative functions of TLR4 and TLR9 in microbial clearance and systemic dissemination during Gram-negative bacterial pneumonia. To access these responses, wildtype Balb/c mice, mice with defective TLR4 signaling (TLR4lps-d), mice deficient in TLR9 (TLR9−/−) and TLR4/9 double mutant mice (TLR4lps-d/TLR9−/−) were challenged with K. pneumoniae, then time-dependent lung bacterial clearance and systemic dissemination determined. We found impaired lung bacterial clearance in TLR4 and TLR9 single mutant mice, whereas the greatest impairment in clearance was observed in TLR4lps-d/TLR9−/− double mutant mice. Early lung expression of TNF-α, IL-12, and chemokines was TLR4 dependent, while IFN-γ production and the later expression of TNF-α and IL-12 was dependent on TLR9. Classical activation of lung macrophages and maximal induction of IL-23 and IL-17 required both TLR4 and TLR9. Finally, the i.t. instillation of IL-17 partially restored anti-bacterial immunity in TLR4lps-d/TLR9−/− double mutant mice. In conclusion, our studies indicate that TLR4 and TLR9 have both non-redundant and cooperative roles in lung innate responses during Gram-negative bacterial pneumonia and are both critical for IL-17 driven antibacterial host response.
C3H/HeJ mice have an impaired ability to respond to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) due to a mutation in the gene that encodes Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4). The effect of TLR4 deficiency on host responses to endodontic infections is unknown. In the present study, we compared periapical bone destruction, sepsis, and inflammatory cytokine production in LPS-hyporesponsive C3H/HeJ and wild-type control C3H/HeOuJ mice. The mandibular first molars of both strains were subjected to pulpal exposure and infection with a mixture of four anaerobic pathogens, Prevotella intermedia, Fusobacterium nucleatum, Streptococcus intermedius, and Peptostreptococcus micros. At sacrifice on day 21, TLR4-deficient C3H/HeJ mice had significantly reduced periapical bone destruction compared to wild-type C3H/HeOuJ mice (P < 0.001). The decreased bone destruction in C3H/HeJ correlated with reduced expression of the bone resorptive cytokines interleukin 1α (IL-1α) (P < 0.01) and IL-1β (P < 0.05) as well as the proinflammatory cytokine IL-12 (P < 0.05). No significant differences were seen in the levels of gamma interferon, tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), or IL-10 between the two strains. The expression of IL-1α, IL-1β, TNF-α, IL-10, and IL-12 were all significantly reduced in vitro in macrophages from both TLR4-deficient C3H/HeJ and C57BL/10ScNCr strains, compared to wild-type controls. Notably, the responses of TLR4-deficient macrophages to both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria were similarly reduced. Neither C3H/HeJ nor C3H/HeOuJ mice exhibited orofacial abscess development or infection dissemination as determined by splenomegaly or cachexia. We conclude that intact TLR function mediates increased proinflammatory responses and bone destruction in response to mixed anaerobic infections.
The susceptibility of inbred strains of mice to pulmonary blastomycosis was studied to derive information relevant to host resistance and genetic background. Initial studies with eight strains with various H-2 backgrounds revealed the C3H/HeJ strain to be highly susceptible and DBA/1J mice to be resistant. These observations were confirmed with various challenge inocula. These differences were not dependent on the size of the challenge, the strain of Blastomyces dermatitidis, host age, or ability of the challenge to penetrate to the lower airways. Differences between the susceptible and resistant strains in lymphocyte proliferation in vitro and delayed-type hypersensitivity in vivo after nonlethal subcutaneous infection were not demonstrated; the susceptible strain made a significantly greater antibody response to blastomyces antigens as determined by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The resistance of the C3H/HeN strain of mice, which differs from the C3H/HeJ in sensitivity to lipopolysaccharide and lacks the macrophage cytotoxicity defect of the latter, suggests that the susceptibility of C3H/HeJ mice is not related to their C3H background or the H-2 locus. As the A/HeJ strain, which also has a macrophage cytotoxicity defect, was found in this study to be the second most susceptible strain, this also suggests macrophages as the subject for further study with respect to the mechanism of genetic resistance to this infection.
The molecular mechanisms underlying the vast differences between individuals in their susceptibility to noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) are unknown. The present study demonstrated that the effects of noise over-exposure on the expression of molecules likely to be important in the development of NIHL differ among inbred mouse strains having distinct susceptibilities to NIHL including B6 (B6.CAST) and 129 (129X1/SvJ and 129S1/SvImJ) mice. The noise-exposure protocol produced a loss of 40 dB in hearing sensitivity in susceptible B6 mice, but no loss for the two resistant 129 substrains. Analysis of gene expression in the membranous labyrinth 6 h following noise exposure revealed up-regulation of transcription factors in both the susceptible and resistant strains. However, a significant induction of genes involved in cell-survival pathways such as the heat shock proteins HSP70 and HSP40, growth arrest and DNA damage inducible protein 45β (GADD45β), and CDK-interacting protein 1 (p21cip1) was detected only in the resistant mice. Moreover, in 129 mice significant upregulation of HSP70, GADD45β, and p21cip1 was confirmed at the protein level. Since the functions of these proteins include roles in potent antiapoptotic cellular pathways, their upregulation may contribute to protection from NIHL in the resistant 129 mice.
gene expression; noise-induced hearing loss; membranous labyrinth; B6.CAST and 129X1/SvJ and 129S1/SvImJ inbred mouse strains
Francisella tularensis is an intracellular gram-negative bacterium that is highly infectious and potentially lethal. Several subspecies exist of varying pathogenicity. Infection by only a few organisms is sufficient to cause disease depending on the model system. Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) of gram-negative bacteria is generally recognized by Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4)/MD-2 and induces a strong proinflammatory response. Examination of human clinical F. tularensis isolates revealed that human virulent type A and type B strains produced lipid A of similar structure to the nonhuman model pathogen of mice, Francisella novicida. F. novicida LPS or lipid A is neither stimulatory nor an antagonist for human and murine cells through TLR4 or TLR2. It does not appear to interact with TLR4 or MD-2, as it is not an antagonist to other stimulatory LPS. Consistent with these observations, aerosolization of F. novicida LPS or whole bacteria induced no inflammatory response in mice. These results suggest that poor innate recognition of F. tularensis allows the bacterium to evade early recognition by the host innate immune system to promote its pathogenesis for mammals.
CD1d-restricted NKT cells comprise an innate-like T cell subset that hasbeen demonstrated to play a role in amplifying the response of innate immune leukocytesto TLR ligands. The Slam locus contains genes that have been implicated in both innate and adaptive immune responses. Here, we demonstrate that divergent Slam locus haplotypesmodulate the response of macrophages to TLR ligands such as LPS through their control of NKT cell number and function. In response to LPS challenge in vivo, macrophage TNF production in Slam haplotype-2-associated 129S1/SvImJ and 129X1/SvJ mice was significantly impaired in comparison to macrophage TNF production in Slam haplotype -1-positive C57BL/6J mice. Although no cell-intrinsic differences in macrophage responses to LPS were observed between strains, 129 mice were found to be deficient in liver NKT cell number, in NKT cell cytokine production in response to the CD1d ligand α-galactosylceramide, and in NKT cell IFN-γ production after LPS challenge in vivo. Using B6.129 c1congenic mice and adoptive transfer, we found that divergent Slam haplotypes controlled both the response to LPS in vivo as well as the diminished NKT cell number and function, and that these phenotypes were associated with differential expression of SLAM family receptors on NKT cells. These data suggest that the polymorphisms that distinguish two Slam haplotypes significantly modulate the innate immune response in vivothrough their effect on NKT cell s.
The expanding set of genomics tools available for inbred mouse strains has renewed interest in phenotyping larger sets of strains. The present study aims to explore phenotypic variability among six commonly-used inbred mouse strains to both the rewarding and locomotor stimulating effects of cocaine in a place conditioning task, including several strains or substrains that have not yet been characterized for some or all of these behaviors.
C57BL/6J (B6), BALB/cJ (BALB), C3H/HeJ (C3H), DBA/2J (D2), FVB/NJ (FVB) and 129S1/SvImJ (129) mice were tested for conditioned place preference to 20 mg/kg cocaine.
Place preference was observed in most strains with the exception of D2 and 129. All strains showed a marked increase in locomotor activity in response to cocaine. In BALB mice, however, locomotor activation was context-dependent. Locomotor sensitization to repeated exposure to cocaine was most significant in 129 and D2 mice but was absent in FVB mice.
Genetic correlations suggest that no significant correlation between conditioned place preference, acute locomotor activation, and locomotor sensitization exists among these strains indicating that separate mechanisms underlie the psychomotor and rewarding effects of cocaine.
Melioidosis, a lethal tropical infection that is endemic in southeast Asia and northern Australia, is caused by the saprophytic Gram-negative bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei. Overall mortality approaches 40% yet little is known about mechanisms of host defense. Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are host transmembrane receptors that recognize conserved pathogen molecular patterns and induce an inflammatory response. The lipopolysaccharide (LPS) of Gram-negative bacteria is a potent inducer of the host innate immune system. TLR4, in association with MD-2, is the archetype receptor for LPS although B. pseudomallei LPS has been previously identified as a TLR2 agonist. We examined TLR signaling induced by B. pseudomallei, B. pseudomallei LPS, and B. pseudomallei lipid A using gain-of-function transfection assays of NF-κB activation and studies of TLR-deficient macrophages.
In HEK293 cells transfected with murine or human TLRs, CD14, and MD-2, heat-killed B. pseudomallei activated TLR2 (in combination with TLR1 or TLR6) and TLR4. B. pseudomallei LPS and lipid A activated TLR4 and this TLR4-mediated signaling required MD-2. In TLR2-/- macrophages, stimulation with heat-killed B. pseudomallei augmented TNF-α and MIP-2 production whereas in TLR4-/- cells, TNF-α, MIP-2, and IL-10 production was reduced. Cytokine production by macrophages stimulated with B. pseudomallei LPS or lipid A was entirely dependent on TLR4 but was increased in the absence of TLR2. TLR adaptor molecule MyD88 strongly regulated TNF-α production in response to heat-killed B. pseudomallei.
B. pseudomallei activates TLR2 and TLR4. In the presence of MD-2, B. pseudomallei LPS and lipid A are TLR4 ligands. Although the macrophage cytokine response to B. pseudomallei LPS or lipid A is completely dependent on TLR4, in TLR2-/- macrophages stimulated with B. pseudomallei, B. pseudomallei LPS or lipid A, cytokine production is augmented. Other MyD88-dependent signaling pathways may also be important in the host response to B. pseudomallei infection. These findings provide new insights into critical mechanisms of host defense in melioidosis.
Susceptibility to infectious diseases is directed, in part, by the interaction between the invading pathogen and host macrophages. This study examines the influence of genetic background on host-pathogen interactions, by assessing the transcriptional responses of macrophages from five inbred mouse strains to lipopolysaccharide (LPS), a major determinant of responses to gram-negative microorganisms.
The mouse strains examined varied greatly in the number, amplitude and rate of induction of genes expressed in response to LPS. The response was attenuated in the C3H/HeJlpsd strain, which has a mutation in the LPS receptor Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4). Variation between mouse strains allowed clustering into early (C57Bl/6J and DBA/2J) and delayed (BALB/c and C3H/ARC) transcriptional phenotypes. There was no clear correlation between gene induction patterns and variation at the Bcg locus (Slc11A1) or propensity to bias Th1 versus Th2 T cell activation responses.
Macrophages from each strain responded to LPS with unique gene expression profiles. The variation apparent between genetic backgrounds provides insights into the breadth of possible inflammatory responses, and paradoxically, this divergence was used to identify a common transcriptional program that responds to TLR4 signalling, irrespective of genetic background. Our data indicates that many additional genetic loci control the nature and the extent of transcriptional responses promoted by a single pathogen-associated molecular pattern (PAMP), such as LPS.
The ability of random mutagenesis techniques to annotate the mammalian genome can be hampered due to genetic redundancy and compensatory pathways that mask heterozygous mutations under homeostatic conditions. The objective of this study was to devise a pharmacologically sensitized screen using the chemotherapeutic drug, 5-fluorouracil (5FU), to induce cytopenia. 5FU dose was optimized in the 129/SvImJ, C57BL/6J, BALB/cJ, and C3H/HeJ strains of laboratory mice. N-ethyl-N-nitrosourea (ENU) mutagenesis was performed on 129/SvImJ males and phenotypic variants were identified by backcrossing on to the C57BL/6J background. G1 animals were challenged with 100 μg/g 5FU and phenodeviants with altered platelet recovery were monitored. Of 546 G1 animals tested, 15 phenodeviants were identified that displayed increased baseline platelet number, a platelet overshoot, or delayed platelet recovery, thereby demonstrating the utility of this approach for uncovering mutations in megakaryocyte and platelet development. Four G1 mice were selected for further analysis. The phenotypes were heritable in all four strains and genetic mapping identified a chromosome location in two of the three G2 lines tested. In conclusion, our group has developed a sensitized random mutagenesis screen utilizing 5FU and has shown that the strain combination of 129/SvImJ × C57BL/6J is robust for identification of founder lines with defects in megakaryocyte and platelet development.
The lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-protein complex extracted from the cell wall of Escherichia coli K235 by the butanol-water technique has been shown to evoke a mitogenic response in bone marrow-derived (B) lymphocytes from the C3H/HeJ mouse strain. These mice are resistant to the effects of LPS extracted with phenol. Therefore, the ability of butanol-extracted LPS to modulate a spectrum of C3H/HeJ B-cell functions was investigated. Both butanol-extracted (LPS-B) and phenol- extracted (LPS-P) LPS preparations activated responder C3H/St spleen cell cultures to polyclonal antibody production, while only LPS-B activated C3H/HeJ spleen cells. Both LPS-P and LPS-B acted as adjuvants when injected after aggregated human gamma globulin (HGG) in C3H/St mice, but neither preparation was effective as a adjuvant in C3H/HeJ mice. LPS-P injected with deaggregated HGG (tolerogen) into LPS- sensitive mice has been shown previously to inhibit the induction of tolerance HGG. In the present studies, it was shown that LPS-B, but not LPs-p, was able to inhibit tolerance induction to HGG in the C3H/HeJ, whereas both preparations were effective in the C3H/St. LPS has also been shown to bypass tolerant T cells in LPS-sensitive mice late in tolerance to HGG at a time when B cells are responsive. However, in the C3H/HeJ, neither LPS-B nor LPS-P was capable of this function. The responsiveness of these B cells to HGG was demonstrated in transfer experiments. Thus, in the C3H/HeJ, LPS-B stimulates mitogenesis, polyclonal B-cell activation, and inhibition of tolerance induction, but cannot act as an effective adjuvant or as a bypass mechanism to activate B cells in the presence of tolerant T cells. The explanation for this pattern of responses may be attributable to yet another cellular defect in the C3H/HeJ mouse.
Toll-like receptors (TLRs) play an important role in the innate immune response, particularly in the initial interaction between the infecting microorganism and phagocytic cells, such as macrophages. We investigated the role of TLR4 during infection of primary murine peritoneal macrophages with Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium. We found that macrophages from the C3H/HeJ mouse strain, which carries a functionally inactive Tlr4 gene, exhibit marked impairment of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) secretion in response to S. enterica serovar Typhimurium infection. However, activation of extracellular growth factor-regulated kinase and NF-κB signaling pathways was relatively unaffected, as was increased expression of TNF-α mRNA. Furthermore, macrophage tolerance, which is associated with increased expression of the NF-κB p50 and p52 subunits, was induced by S. enterica serovar Typhimurium even in the absence of functional TLR4. These results indicate that during infection of macrophages by S. enterica serovar Typhimurium, TLR4 signals are required at a posttranscriptional step to maximize secretion of TNF-α. Signals delivered by pattern recognition receptors other than TLR4 are sufficient for the increased expression of the TNF-α transcript and at least some genes associated with macrophage tolerance.
TLR4 plays a key role in the initiation of innate immunity and in the regulation of adaptive immune responses. Using microarray analysis and PCR, TLR4 expression was observed to increase in murine skin wounds at the early stages. The cellular location of TLR4 was primarily in keratinocytes at the wound edges. Closure of excisional wounds was significantly delayed in TLR4 deficient (C3H/HeJ) as compared to wild type mice, and both IL-1β and IL-6 production were significantly lower in the wounds of TLR4 deficient mice. EGF also markedly decreased in the wound edge of epidermis in TLR4 deficient mice. In vitro studies confirmed that a wound stimulus induces TLR4 mRNA expression in primary normal human epidermal keratinocytes (NHEK). In vitro injury also induced the phosphorylation of p38 and JNK MAPK and the expression of IL-1β and TNF-α by NHEK. Blockade of TLR4 delayed NHEK migration and abolished the phosphorylation of p38 and JNK MAPK, and blockade of TLR4 and/or p38/JNK abolished IL-1β production. The results suggest that inflammatory cytokine production by injured NHEK is stimulated via the TLR4-p38 and JNK MAPK signaling pathway. Together, the results provide evidence for a role of TLR4 at sites of injury, and suggest that TLR4 is an important regulator of wound inflammation.
TLR4; MAPK; wound healing; cytokine
The Mycoplasma arthritidis mitogen (MAM) superantigen (SAg) is a potent activator of human and murine cells and is produced by an organism that is a cause of acute and chronic arthritis of rodents. It is phylogenetically unrelated to other bacterial SAgs and exhibits a number of unique features. We recently demonstrated that MAM differentially regulates the cytokine responses of different mouse strains following in vivo administration. Here we show that the presence in inbred C3H/HeJ mice of the mutant Lpsd gene, which is associated with a defect in Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4), influences MAM regulation of cytokine profiles in vivo. Whereas the levels of type 1 cytokines (interleukin-2 [IL-2], gamma interferon, IL-12, and tumor necrosis factor alpha) were depressed in cells from MAM-injected wild-type C3H/HeSnJ mice, they were elevated in cells from C3H/HeJ mice. Furthermore, the levels of type 2 cytokines (IL-4, IL-6, and IL-10) were elevated in Lpsn C3H/HeSnJ mice but depressed in Lpsd C3H/HeJ mice. The transcript for IL-12 p40 was highly expressed in C3H/HeJ but not C3H/HeSnJ mice. F1 mice exhibited the same cytokine profile as C3H/HeJ mice, indicating that the mutant gene exhibited dominant-negative inheritance. In addition, C3H/HeJ mice were highly susceptible to toxic death in comparison with C3H/HeSnJ mice after injection with live M. arthritidis organisms. Our results suggest that MAM interacts with the lipopolysaccharide signaling pathway, possibly involving TLR4 or a combinatorial Toll complex.
Signal transduction following binding of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) to Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) is an essential aspect of host innate immune responses to infection by Gram-negative pathogens. Here, we describe a novel molecular mechanism used by a prevalent human bacterial pathogen to evade and subvert the human innate immune system. We show that the oral pathogen, P. gingivalis, uses endogenous lipid A 1- and 4'-phosphatase activities to modify its LPS, creating immunologically silent, non-phosphorylated lipid A. This unique lipid A provides a highly effective mechanism employed by this bacterium to evade TLR4 sensing and to resist killing by cationic anti-microbial peptides. In addition, lipid A 1- phosphatase activity is suppressed by hemin, an important nutrient in the oral cavity. Specifically, P. gingivalis grown in the presence of high hemin produces lipid A that acts as a potent TLR4 antagonist. These results suggest that hemin-dependent regulation of lipid A 1-dephosphorylation can shift P. gingivalis lipid A activity from TLR4 evasive to TLR4 suppressive, potentially altering critical interactions between this bacterium, the local microbial community, and the host innate immune system.
Initial host defense to bacterial infection is executed by innate immunity, and therefore the main goal of this study was to examine the contribution of Toll-like receptors (TLRs) during Brucella abortus infection. CHO reporter cell lines transfected with CD14 and TLRs showed that B. abortus triggers both TLR2 and TLR4. In contrast, lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and lipid A derived from Brucella rough (R) and smooth (S) strains activate CHO cells only through TLR4. Consistently, macrophages from C3H/HePas mice exposed to R and S strains and their LPS produced higher levels of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) and interleukin-12 compared to C3H/HeJ, a TLR4 mutant mouse. The essential role of TLR4 for induction of proinflammatory cytokines was confirmed with diphosphoryl lipid A from Rhodobacter sphaeroides. Furthermore, to determine the contribution of TLR2 and TLR4 in bacterial clearance, numbers of Brucella were monitored in the spleen of C3H/HeJ, C3H/HePas, TLR2 knockout, and wild-type mice at 1, 3, and 6 weeks following B. abortus infection. Interestingly, murine brucellosis was markedly exacerbated at weeks 3 and 6 after infection in animals that lacked functional TLR4 (C3H/HeJ) compared to C3H/HePas that paralleled the reduced gamma interferon production by this mouse strain. Finally, by mass spectrometry analysis we found dramatic differences on the lipid A profiles of R and S strains. In fact, S lipid A was shown to be more active to trigger TLR4 than R lipid A in CHO cells and more effective in inducing dendritic cell maturation. In conclusion, these results indicate that TLR4 plays a role in resistance to B. abortus infection and that S lipid A has potent adjuvant activity.