Background: Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) plays a critical role in mediating inflammatory/immune responses against bacterial pathogens in lung. Streptococcus pneumoniae (S. pneumoniae) and nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi) were previously reported to synergize with each other to induce inflammatory responses. Despite the relatively known intracellular signaling pathways involved in the synergistic induction of inflammation, it is still unclear if both bacterial pathogens also synergistically induce expression of surface TLR2. Results: Here we provide direct evidence that S. pneumoniae synergizes with NTHi to upregulate TLR2 expression in lung and middle ear of the mice. Pneumolysin (PLY) appears to be the major virulence factor involved in this synergism. Moreover, S. pneumoniae PLY induces TLR2 expression via a TLR4-MyD88-NF-κB-dependent signaling pathway. Interestingly, tumor suppressor CYLD acts as a negative regulator of S. pneumoniae-induced TLR2 up-regulation via negative-crosstalk with NF-κB signaling. Conclusion: Our study thus provides novel insights into the regulation of TLR2 expression in mixed bacterial infections.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We are grateful to Drs. R. Malley and A. Srivastava, R. Bernards and S. Akira for kindly providing various reagents. This work was supported by grants from National Institute of Health DC004562 and DC005843 (to J.-D. Li).