Engagement of Toll-like receptor-2 on cytotoxic T-lymphocytes occurs in vivo and augments antitumor activity

FASEB J. 2008 Oct;22(10):3628-37. doi: 10.1096/fj.08-108274. Epub 2008 Jun 27.


Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are among the fundamental molecules that alert the immune system to the presence of an infection by recognizing pathogen-associated molecules. Much of our understanding regarding TLR function stems from the study of innate immune cells. Recent studies by several groups, including ours, have shown that TLRs can function as costimulatory receptors for antigen-specific T cells, resulting in enhanced T-cell survival and increased expression of effector molecules. We report that the ligation of the TLR1/2 heterodimer on OT-1 cytotoxic T-lymphocytes (CTL) but not TLR2(-/-)OT-1 T cells increased cytolytic activity in vitro and in vivo. On the basis of these data, we tested the hypothesis that TLR1/2 stimulation on CTLs would enhance antitumor activity in a therapeutic model of B16-Ova melanoma. Adoptive OT-1 T-cell transfer into wild-type and MyD88(-/-) mice, followed by injection with TLR1/2 ligand, resulted in a synergistic antitumor effect, which correlated with the induction of CD8 T cells specific to various tumor antigens. In contrast, mice receiving TLR2(-/-)OT-1 T cells and TLR1/2 ligand showed minimal therapeutic efficacy. These findings emphasize the physiological significance of TLR2 engagement on CTLs and could make possible new approaches for the development of effective immunotherapies by manipulating TLR signaling within CTLs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adoptive Transfer
  • Animals
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / immunology
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Immunotherapy, Adoptive*
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Melanoma, Experimental / immunology
  • Melanoma, Experimental / therapy*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Myeloid Differentiation Factor 88 / genetics
  • Skin Neoplasms / immunology
  • Skin Neoplasms / therapy*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / transplantation
  • Toll-Like Receptor 2 / agonists
  • Toll-Like Receptor 2 / genetics
  • Toll-Like Receptor 2 / physiology*
  • Toll-Like Receptors / agonists
  • Toll-Like Receptors / genetics
  • Toll-Like Receptors / physiology


  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Cytokines
  • Myd88 protein, mouse
  • Myeloid Differentiation Factor 88
  • Tlr11 protein, mouse
  • Tlr2 protein, mouse
  • Toll-Like Receptor 2
  • Toll-Like Receptors