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PLoS One


Using TLR pathways, primary human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) induces innate responses including the production of inflammatory cytokines. Mounting evidence suggests that LPS recognition by TLR4/MD2/CD14 results in differential utilization of TIRAP-TRAF6 and TRAM-TRIF signaling, thereby leading to transcriptional activation of various cytokine genes. However, relative roles of the TLR4/MD2/CD14 complex and its adaptor proteins TIRAP and TRAM involved in regulating monocyte responses to HCMV are incomplete. Here, we provided evidence supporting the notion that the TLR4/MD2/CD14 complex contributes notably to HCMV-induced signaling and subsequent cytokine production in monocytes. In particular, induction of both IL-6 and IL-8 is associated with elevated TIRAP and reduced TRAM mRNA expression. The latter may serve in a compensatory pathway that yields a robust IFN response when TIRAP signaling is blocked in monocytes incubated with Toledo strain HCMV. Inhibitory studies using antisense oligonucleotides or neutralizing antibodies indicate that IL-6 induction by TLR4/MD2 complex is important for the activation of endogenous CD14 which later acts in concert or synergy with TLR4/MD2 as a factor resulting in IL-8 gene expression. We further show that exogenous recombinant CD14 can potentiate innate immune response via TLR4-dependent and possibly via TLR9-dependent pathways to promote enhanced expression/production of IL-8 and IFN-β, respectively.



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