The ability to trigger an innate immune response against opportunistic pathogens associated with HIV-1 infection is an important aspect of AIDS pathogenesis. Toll-like receptors (TLRs) play a critical role in innate immunity against pathogens, but in HIV-1 patients coinfected with opportunistic infections, the regulation of TLR expression has not been studied. In this context, we have evaluated the expression of TLR2 and TLR4 in monocytes, plasmacytoid dendritic cells, and myeloid dendritic cells of HIV-1 patients with or without opportunistic infections. Forty-nine HIV-1-infected individuals were classified according to viral load, highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), and the presence or absence of opportunistic infections, and 21 healthy subjects served as controls. Increased expression of TLR2 and TLR4 was observed in myeloid dendritic cells of HIV-1 patients coinfected with opportunistic infections (without HAART), while TLR4 increased in plasmacytoid dendritic cells, compared to both HIV-1 without opportunistic infections and healthy subjects. Moreover, TLR2 expression was higher in patients with opportunistic infections without HAART and up-regulation of TLR expression in HIV-1 patients coinfected with opportunistic infections was more pronounced in dendritic cells derived from individuals coinfected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The results indicate that TLR expression in innate immune cells is up-regulated in patients with a high HIV-1 load and coinfected with opportunistic pathogens. We suggest that modulation of TLRs expression represents a mechanism that promotes HIV-1 replication and AIDS pathogenesis in patients coinfected with opportunistic pathogens.
Synthetic oligonucleotides containing CpG motifs (CpG ODNs) have been shown to induce proliferation, differentiation and cytokine production in B cells, macrophages and DCs through a TLR9-dependent mechanism. A class (CpG-A) and B class (CpG-B) ODNs display distinct physical properties. CpG-A, but not CpG-B, can multimerize to form exceedingly large lattices. CpG-A cannot effectively activate B cells but does induce pDCs to produce high levels of IFNα, while CpG-B is a potent B cell mitogen. Here we report that CpG-A is internalized by B cells, and CpG-A and CpG-B accumulate to distinct intracellular compartments. When present in the form of an immune complex (CpG-A IC), CpG-A is taken up more efficiently by AM14 IgG2a-specific B cells, and elicits a robust TLR9-dependent B cell proliferative response. B cells proliferating comparably and in a TLR9-dependent fashion in response to CpG-A IC and CpG-B exhibited distinct cytokine profiles. CpG-A IC induced enhanced production of RANTES and markedly reduced levels of IL-6 when compared to CpG-B. We also found that engagement of the AM14 BCR by a protein IC, which cannot by itself induce proliferation, promoted TLR9-dependent but BCR-independent proliferation by bystander CpG-A or fragments of mammalian dsDNA. These data identify direct and indirect mechanisms by which BCR engagement facilitates access of exogenous ligands to TLR9-associated compartments and subsequent B cell activation.
A strong link between inflammation and metabolism is becoming increasingly evident. A number of recent landmark studies have implicated the activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome, an interleukin-1β family cytokine-activating protein complex, in a variety of metabolic diseases including obesity, atherosclerosis and type 2 diabetes. Here we review these new developments and discuss their implications for better understanding inflammation in metabolic disease and the prospects of targeting the NLRP3 inflammasome for therapeutic intervention.
The molecular mechanism behind alum adjuvanticity is probably the oldest secret of immunology. In this issue of Immunity, Kuroda et al. (Kuroda, 2011) and Kool et al. (Kool, 2011) identify NLRP3 protein-independent signaling to be crucial for the Th2 cell response induced by aluminum salts.
Toll-like receptor (TLR)9 performs our innate response to bacterial DNA, warning us of the presence of infection. Inhibitory oligodeoxyribonucleotides (INH-ODN) have been developed that selectively block activation of mouse TLR9. Their inhibitory motif consisting of CCx(not-C)(not-C)xxGGG (x = any base) also reduces anti-DNA antibodies in lupus mice. The current study demonstrates that this motif also provides the sequences required to block TLR9 in human B cells and human embryonic kidney (HEK) cells transfected with human TLR9. However, extending the sequence by four to five bases at the 5' end enhanced activity and this enhancement was greater when a phosphorothioate (pS) backbone replaced the native phosphodiester (pO) backbone. A series of pO-backbone INH-ODN representing a 500-fold range of activity in biologic assays was shown to cover less than a 2.5-fold range of avidity for binding human TLR9-Ig fusion protein, eliminating TLR9 ectodomain binding as the explanation for sequence-specific differences in biologic activity. With few exceptions, the relative activity of INH-ODN in Namalwa cells and HEK/human TLR9 cells was similar to that seen in mouse B cells. INH-ODN activity in human peripheral blood B cells correlated significantly with the cell line data. These results favor the conclusion that although the backbone determines strength of TLR9 binding, critical recognition of the INH-ODN sequence necessary for biologic activity is performed by a molecule that is not TLR9. These studies also identify the strongest INH-ODN for human B cells, helping to guide the selection of INH-ODN sequences for therapeutics in any situation where inflammation is enhanced by TLR9.
B cells; human; systemic lupus erythematosus; Toll-like receptors
Development of atherosclerosis, which is the leading cause of death in developed countries is due to persistent chronic inflammation in the artery wall. Exciting discoveries related to IL-1R-TLR signaling in development of atherosclerosis plaque have triggered intense interest in the molecular mechanisms by which innate immune signaling modulates the onset and development of atherosclerosis. Previous studies have clearly shown the definitive role of proinflammatory cytokine IL-1 in the development of atherosclerosis. Removal of IL-1 or IL-1R reduced vascular inflammation and atherosclerosis in ApoE−/− mice. Recent studies have provided direct evidence supporting a link between innate immunity and atherogenesis. While it is still controversial about whether infectious pathogens contribute to cardiovascular diseases, direct genetic evidence indicates the importance of TLR-IL-1R signaling in atherogenesis.
Methods and Results
To investigate the specific role of IRAK4 kinase in the development of atherosclerosis, IRAK4 kinase inactive knockin (IRAK4KI) mice were bred onto ApoE−/− mice to generate IRAK4KI/ApoE−/− mice. The aortic sinus lesion formation was impaired in IRAK4KI/ApoE−/− mice compared to that in ApoE−/− mice. Furthermore, proinflammatory cytokine production was reduced in the aortic sinus region of IRAK4KI/ApoE−/− mice compared to that in ApoE−/− mice. Importantly, the IRAK4 kinase activity was required for modified LDL-induced IκBα phosphorylation (NFκB activation) and expression of a subset of proinflammatory genes, but not for the activation of MAPKs in bonemarrow-derived macrophage (BMDM). Importantly, inactivation of IRAK4 kinase had no effect on modified LDL uptake and foam cell formation in BMDM.
Taken together, our results indicate that the IRAK4 kinase plays an important role in modified LDL-mediated signaling and the development of atherosclerosis, suggesting that pharmacological inhibition of IRAK4 kinase activity might be a feasible approach in the development of anti-atherosclerosis drugs.
The inflammasome pathway functions to regulate caspase-1 activation in response to a broad range of stimuli. Caspase-1 activation is required for the maturation of the pivotal pro-inflammatory cytokines of the pro-IL-1β family. In addition, caspase-1 activation leads to a certain type of cell death known as pyroptosis. Activation of the inflammasome has been shown to play a critical role in the recognition and containment of various microbial pathogens, including the intracellularly replicating Listeria monocytogenes; however, the inflammasome pathways activated during L. monocytogenes infection are only poorly defined. Here, we demonstrate that L. monocytogenes activates both the NLRP3 and the AIM2 inflammasome, with a predominant involvement of the AIM2 inflammasome. In addition, L. monocytogenes-triggered cell death was diminished in the absence of both AIM2 and NLRP3, and is concomitant with increased intracellular replication of L. monocytogenes. Altogether, these data establish a role for DNA sensing through the AIM2 inflammasome in the detection of intracellularly replicating bacteria.
Listeria monocytogenes; Inflammasome; caspase-1; AIM2; NLRP3
Myeloid differentiation factor 2 (MD-2) is a secreted glycoprotein that assembles with Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) to form a functional signaling receptor for bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS). In this study we have identified a novel alternatively spliced isoform of human MD-2, termed MD-2 short (MD-2s), which lacks the region encoded by exon 2 of the MD-2 gene. Similar to MD-2, MD-2s is glycosylated and secreted. MD-2s also interacted with LPS and TLR4, but failed to mediate LPS-induced NF-κB activation and interleukin-8 production. We show that MD-2s is upregulated upon IFN-γ, IL-6 and TLR stimulation and negatively regulates LPS-mediated TLR4 signaling. Furthermore, MD-2s competitively inhibited binding of MD-2 to TLR4. Our study therefore pinpoints a mechanism that may be employed to regulate TLR4 activation at the onset of signaling and identifies MD-2s as a potential therapeutic candidate to treat human diseases characterized by an overly exuberant or chronic immune response to LPS.
The fibrillar peptide amyloid-β (Aβ) has a chief function in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease. Interleukin 1β (IL-1β) is a key cytokine in the inflammatory response to Aβ. Insoluble materials such as crystals activate the inflammasome formed by the cytoplasmic receptor NALP3, which results in the release of IL-1β. Here we identify the NALP3 inflammasome as a sensor of Aβ in a process involving the phagocytosis of Aβ and subsequent lysosomal damage and release of cathepsin B. Furthermore, the IL-1β pathway was essential for the microglial synthesis of proinflammatory and neurotoxic factors, and the inflammasome, caspase-1 and IL-1β were critical for the recruitment of microglia to exogenous Aβ in the brain. Our findings suggest that activation of the NALP3 inflammasome is important for inflammation and tissue damage in Alzheimer’s disease.
In response to injurious or infectious agents caspase-1 activating multiprotein complexes, termed inflammasomes, assemble in the cytoplasm of cells. Activated caspase-1 cleaves the pro-forms of the interleukin-1 cytokine family members leading to their activation and secretion. The IL-1 family cytokines have multiple pro-inflammatory activities implicating them in the pathogenesis of many inflammatory diseases. While defined ligands have been identified for the NLRP1, IPAF and AIM2 inflammasomes, little is known about the activation mechanisms of the NLRP3 inflammasome. Numerous different molecular entities, such as various crystals, pore-forming toxins or extracellular ATP can trigger the NLRP3 inflammasome. Recent work proposes that NLRP3 is activated indirectly by host factors that are generated in response to NLRP3 triggers.
Inflammasomes regulate the activity of capase-1 and maturation of interleukin-1β and interleukin-18. Recently, AIM2 was shown to bind DNA and engage ASC to form a caspase-1 activating inflammasome. Using Aim2-deficient mice, we reveal a central role for AIM2 in regulating caspase-1-dependent maturation of IL-1β and IL-18, as well as pyroptosis in response to synthetic dsDNA. AIM2 is essential for inflammasome activation in response to Fransicella tularensis, vaccinia virus, mouse cytomegalovirus and plays a partial role in sensing Listeria monocytogenes. Moreover, production of IL-18 and NK cell-dependent IFN-γ production, events critical in early control of virus replication were dependent on AIM2 during mCMV infection in vivo. Collectively, these observations reveal the importance of AIM2 in sensing both bacterial and viral pathogens and triggering innate immunity.
It has been proposed that individual genetic variation contributes to the course of severe infections and sepsis. Recent studies of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within the endotoxin receptor and its signaling system showed an association with the risk of disease development. This study aims to examine the response associated with genetic variations of TLR4, the receptor for bacterial LPS, and a central intracellular signal transducer (TIRAP/Mal) on cytokine release and for susceptibility and course of severe hospital acquired infections in distinct patient populations.
Three intensive care units in tertiary care university hospitals in Greece and Germany participated. 375 and 415 postoperative patients and 159 patients with ventilator associated pneumonia (VAP) were included. TLR4 and TIRAP/Mal polymorphisms in 375 general surgical patients were associated with risk of infection, clinical course and outcome. In two prospective studies, 415 patients following cardiac surgery and 159 patients with newly diagnosed VAP predominantly caused by Gram-negative bacteria were studied for cytokine levels in-vivo and after ex-vivo monocyte stimulation and clinical course.
Patients simultaneously carrying polymorphisms in TIRAP/Mal and TLR4 and patients homozygous for the TIRAP/Mal SNP had a significantly higher risk of severe infections after surgery (odds ratio (OR) 5.5; confidence interval (CI): 1.34 - 22.64; P = 0.02 and OR: 7.3; CI: 1.89 - 28.50; P < 0.01 respectively). Additionally we found significantly lower circulating cytokine levels in double-mutant individuals with ventilator associated pneumonia and reduced cytokine production in an ex-vivo monocyte stimulation assay, but this difference was not apparent in TIRAP/Mal-homozygous patients. In cardiac surgery patients without infection, the cytokine release profiles were not changed when comparing different genotypes.
Carriers of mutations in sequential components of the TLR signaling system may have an increased risk for severe infections. Patients with this genotype showed a decrease in cytokine release when infected which was not apparent in patients with sterile inflammation following cardiac surgery.
Inhalation of silica crystals causes inflammation in the alveolar space. Prolonged silica exposure can lead to the development of silicosis, an irreversible, fibrotic pulmonary disease. The mechanisms by which silica and other crystals activate immune cells are not well understood. Here, we demonstrate that silica and aluminum salt crystals activate the NALP3 inflammasome. NALP3 activation requires crystal phagocytosis and crystal uptake leads to lysosomal damage and rupture. Sterile lysosomal damage is also sufficient to induce NALP3 activation and inhibition of phagosomal acidification or cathepsin B impairs NALP3 activation. These results indicate that the NALP3 inflammasome can sense lysosomal damage induced by various means as an endogenous danger signal.
The interleukin (IL)-1 family cytokines are regulated on transcriptional and posttranscriptional levels. Pattern recognition and cytokine receptors control pro-IL-1β transcription while inflammasomes regulate the proteolytic processing of pro-IL-1β. The NLRP3 inflammasome, however, assembles in response to extracellular ATP, poreforming toxins or crystals only in the presence of proinflammatory stimuli. How activation of gene transcription by signaling receptors enables the NLRP3 activation remains elusive and controversial. Here, we show that cell priming through multiple signaling receptors induce NLRP3 expression, which we identified to be a critical checkpoint for NLRP3 activation. Signals provided by NF-κB activators are necessary but not sufficient for NLRP3 activation and a second stimulus, such as ATP or crystal-induced damage is required for NLRP3 activation.
Antiviral immunity is triggered by immunorecognition of viral nucleic acids. The cytosolic helicase RIG-I is a key sensor of viral infections and is activated by RNA containing a triphosphate at the 5′end. The exact structure of RNA activating RIG-I remains controversial. Here we established a chemical approach for 5′triphosphate oligoribonucleotide synthesis and found that synthetic single-stranded 5′triphosphate oligoribonucleotides were unable to bind and activate RIG-I. Conversely, the addition of the synthetic complementary strand resulted in optimal binding and activation of RIG-I. Short double strand conformation with base pairing of the nucleoside carrying the 5′triphosphate was required. RIG-I activation was impaired by a 3′overhang at the 5′triphosphate end. These results define the structure of RNA for full RIG-I activation and explain how RIG-I detects negative strand RNA viruses which lack long double-stranded RNA but do contain panhandle blunt short double-stranded 5′triphosphate RNA in their single-stranded genome.
5′-triphosphate RNA; immunorecognition of RNA virus; RIG-I
Inflammation is the coordinated immune response to harmful stimuli that appear during infections or after tissue damage. Cells of the innate immune system are the central players in mediating inflammatory tissue responses. These cells are equipped with an array of signaling receptors that detect foreign molecular substances or altered endogenous molecules that appear under situations of stress. This review provides an overview of recent progress in elucidating the molecular mechanisms that lead to inflammatory reactions. We discuss the current knowledge of the mechanisms leading to the activation of cytoplasmic, multimolecular protein complexes, termed “inflammasomes,” which regulate the activity of caspase-1 and the maturation and release of IL-1β.
The innate immune system senses nucleic acids via germ-line encoded pattern recognition receptors. RNA is sensed via Toll-like receptor (TLR)−3, −7 and −8 or by the RNA helicases RIG-I and MDA-51. Little is known about sensors for cytoplasmic DNA which trigger antiviral and/or inflammatory responses2–6. The best characterized of these responses involves activation of the TANK-binding kinase (TBK1)-Interferon Regulatory Factor (IRF)-3 signaling axis to trigger transcriptional induction of IFN〈/® genes2,3. A second, less well-defined pathway leads to the activation of an ‘inflammasome’ which via caspase-1, controls the catalytic cleavage of the pro-forms of the cytokines IL-1β and IL-186,7. Here we identify the IFI20X/IFI16 (PYHIN) family member8, absent in melanoma 2 (AIM2), as a receptor for cytosolic DNA which regulates caspase-1. The HIN200 domain of AIM2 binds to DNA, while the PYD domain (but not that of the other PYHIN family members) associates with the adapter molecule ASC to activate both NF-κB and caspase-1. Knockdown of AIM2 abrogates caspase-1 activation in response to cytoplasmic dsDNA and the dsDNA virus, vaccinia. Collectively, these observations identify AIM2 as a novel receptor for cytoplasmic DNA, which forms an inflammasome with the ligand and ASC to activate caspase-1.
ABCA1 transport of cholesterol and phospholipids to nascent HDL particles plays a central role in lipoprotein metabolism and macrophage cholesterol homeostasis. ABCA1 activity is regulated both at the transcriptional level and at the post-translational level. To explore mechanisms involved in the post-translational regulation of the transporter, we have used affinity purification and mass spectrometry to identify proteins that bind ABCA1 and influence its activity. Previously, we demonstrated that an interaction between β 1-syntrophin stimulated ABCA1 activity, at least in part, be slowing the degradation of the transporter. This work demonstrates that one subunit of the serine palmitoyltransferase enzyme, SPTLC1, but not subunit 2 (SPTLC2), is copurified with ABCA1 and negatively regulates its function. In human THP-I macrophages and in mouse liver, the ABCA1-SPTLC1 complex was detected by co-immunoprecipitation, demonstrating that the interaction occurs in cellular settings where ABCA1 activity is critical for HDL genesis. Pharmacologic inhibition of SPTLC1 with myriocin, which resulted in the disruption of the SPTLC1-ABCA1 complex, and siRNA knockdown of SPTLC1 expression both stimulated ABCA1 efflux by nearly 60% (p < 0.05). In contrast, dominant-negative mutants of SPTLC1 inhibited ABCA1 efflux, indicating that a reduced level of sphingomyelin synthesis could not explain the effect of myriocin on ABCA1 activity. In 293 cells, the SPTLC1 inhibition of ABCA1 activity led to the blockade of the exit of ABCA1 from the endoplasmic reticulum. In contrast, myriocin treatment of macrophages increased the level of cell surface ABCA1. In composite, these results indicate that the physical interaction of ABCA1 and SPTLC1 results in reduction of ABCA1 activity and that inhibition of this interaction produces enhanced cholesterol efflux.
Bordetella pertussis, B. parapertussis, and B. bronchiseptica are closely related species associated with respiratory disease in humans and other mammals. While B. bronchiseptica has a wide host range, B. pertussis and B. parapertussis evolved separately from a B. bronchiseptica-like progenitor to naturally infect only humans. Despite very different doubling times in vitro, all three establish similar levels of infection in the mouse lung within 72 h. Recent work has revealed separate roles for Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) in immunity to B. pertussis and B. bronchiseptica, while no role for TLR4 during B. parapertussis infection has been described. Here we compared the requirement for TLR4 in innate host defense to these organisms using the same mouse infection model. While B. bronchiseptica causes lethal disease in TLR4-deficient mice, B. pertussis and B. parapertussis do not. Correspondingly, TLR4 is critical in limiting B. bronchiseptica but not B. pertussis or B. parapertussis bacterial numbers during the first 72 h. Interestingly, B. bronchiseptica induces a TLR4-dependent cytokine response that is considerably larger than that induced by B. pertussis or B. parapertussis. Analysis of their endotoxins using RAW cells suggests that B. bronchiseptica lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is 10- and 100-fold more stimulatory than B. pertussis or B. parapertussis LPS, respectively. The difference in LPS stimulus is more pronounced when using HEK293 cells expressing human TLR4. Thus, it appears that in adapting to infect humans, B. pertussis and B. parapertussis independently modified their LPS to reduce TLR4-mediated responses, which may compensate for slower growth rates and facilitate host colonization.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease characterized by pathogenic autoantibodies against nucleoproteins and DNA. Here we show that DNA-containing immune complexes (ICs) within lupus serum (SLE-ICs), but not protein-containing ICs from other autoimmune rheumatic diseases, stimulates plasmacytoid DCs (PDCs) to produce cytokines and chemokines via a cooperative interaction between Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9) and FcγRIIa (CD32). SLE-ICs transiently colocalized to a subcellular compartment containing CD32 and TLR9, and CD32+, but not CD32–, PDCs internalized and responded to SLE-ICs. Our findings demonstrate a novel functional interaction between Fc receptors and TLRs, defining a pathway in which CD32 delivers SLE-ICs to intracellular lysosomes containing TLR9, inducing a signaling cascade leading to PDC activation. These data demonstrate that endogenous DNA-containing autoantibody complexes found in the serum of patients with SLE activate the innate immune system and suggest a novel mechanism whereby these ICs contribute to the pathogenesis of this autoimmune disease.
Toll–IL-1–resistance (TIR) domain–containing adaptor-inducing IFN-β (TRIF)–related adaptor molecule (TRAM) is the fourth TIR domain–containing adaptor protein to be described that participates in Toll receptor signaling. Like TRIF, TRAM activates interferon regulatory factor (IRF)-3, IRF-7, and NF-κB-dependent signaling pathways. Toll-like receptor (TLR)3 and 4 activate these pathways to induce IFN-α/β, regulated on activation, normal T cell expressed and secreted (RANTES), and γ interferon–inducible protein 10 (IP-10) expression independently of the adaptor protein myeloid differentiation factor 88 (MyD88). Dominant negative and siRNA studies performed here demonstrate that TRIF functions downstream of both the TLR3 (dsRNA) and TLR4 (LPS) signaling pathways, whereas the function of TRAM is restricted to the TLR4 pathway. TRAM interacts with TRIF, MyD88 adaptor–like protein (Mal)/TIRAP, and TLR4 but not with TLR3. These studies suggest that TRIF and TRAM both function in LPS-TLR4 signaling to regulate the MyD88-independent pathway during the innate immune response to LPS.
innate immunity; endotoxin; interferon; signal transduction; host defense
Recognition of ligands by toll-like receptor (TLR) 2 requires interactions with other TLRs. TLRs form a combinatorial repertoire to discriminate between the diverse microbial ligands. Diversity results from extracellular and intracellular interactions of different TLRs. This paper demonstrates that TLR1 and TLR2 are required for ara-lipoarabinomannan– and tripalmitoyl cysteinyl lipopeptide–stimulated cytokine secretion from mononuclear cells. Confocal microscopy revealed that TLR1 and TLR2 cotranslationally form heterodimeric complexes on the cell surface and in the cytosol. Simultaneous cross-linking of both receptors resulted in ligand-independent signal transduction. Using chimeric TLRs, we found that expression of the extracellular domains along with simultaneous expression of the intracellular domains of both TLRs was necessary to achieve functional signaling. The domains from each receptor did not need to be contained within a single contiguous protein. Chimeric TLR analysis further defined the toll/IL-1R domains as the area of crucial intracellular TLR1–TLR2 interaction.
toll-like receptors; innate immunity; mycobacterium tuberculosis; ara-lipoarabinomannan; signal transduction
Toll-like receptors (TLRs) recognize microbial molecular signatures and can initiate innate immune responses against invading pathogens. A new study reports how TLR2 expression by endothelia is locally upregulated by the action of activated polymorphonuclear neutrophils via an unprecedented mechanism involving cell-cell interaction and NAD(P)H oxidase. The report reveals yet another way in which the primordial innate immune system is remarkably complex.
Human cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a ubiquitous opportunistic pathogen that causes significant morbidity and mortality in immuncompromised people. An understanding of how CMV induces and circumvents host immunity is of critical importance in efforts to design effective therapeutics. It was recently discovered that mere cell contact by CMV particles leads to profound modulation of cellular gene expression, including induction of inflammatory cytokines and interferon-stimulated genes characteristic of innate immune detection. These findings suggest that a membrane receptor recognizes a CMV envelope protein(s), leading to innate immune activation. Here, we show that the pattern recognition receptors Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) and CD14 recognize CMV virions and trigger inflammatory cytokine production. Induction of inflammatory cytokines is mediated via TLR2-dependent activation of NF-κB. Since many of the pathological processes associated with CMV disease are facilitated or directly mediated by inflammatory cytokines, identification of the host membrane detection machinery may ultimately lead to improved therapeutics.