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Bacterial lipoproteins are the most potent microbial agonists for the Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) subfamily, and this pattern recognition event induces cellular activation, leading to host immune responses. Triacylated bacterial lipoproteins coordinately bind TLR1 and TLR2, resulting in a stable ternary complex that drives intracellular signaling. The sensitivity of TLR-expressing cells to lipoproteins is greatly enhanced by two lipid-binding serum proteins known as lipopolysaccharide-binding protein (LBP) and soluble CD14 (sCD14); however, the physical mechanism that underlies this increased sensitivity is not known. To address this, we measured the ability of LBP and sCD14 to drive ternary complex formation between soluble extracellular domains of TLR1 and TLR2 and a synthetic triacylated lipopeptide agonist. Importantly, addition of substoichiometric amounts of either LBP or sCD14 significantly enhanced formation of a TLR1·TLR2 lipopeptide ternary complex as measured by size exclusion chromatography. However, neither LBP nor sCD14 was physically associated with the final ternary complex. Similar results were obtained using outer surface protein A (OspA), a naturally occurring triacylated lipoprotein agonist from Borrelia burgdorferi. Activation studies revealed that either LBP or sCD14 sensitized TLR-expressing cells to nanogram levels of either the synthetic lipopeptide or OspA lipoprotein agonist. Together, our results show that either LBP or sCD14 can drive ternary complex formation and TLR activation by acting as mobile carriers of triacylated lipopeptides or lipoproteins.


Diana Rose E Ranoa, Stacy L Kelley, Richard I Tapping. Human lipopolysaccharide-binding protein (LBP) and CD14 independently deliver triacylated lipoproteins to Toll-like receptor 1 (TLR1) and TLR2 and enhance formation of the ternary signaling complex. The Journal of biological chemistry. 2013 Apr 05;288(14):9729-41

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PMID: 23430250

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