Toll-like receptors (TLRs) play an essential role in initiating intracellular type I interferon (IFN)-mediated innate immunity against viral infections. We examined whether human neuronal cells (primary human neurons, NT2-N and CHP-212 cells) express TLRs and mount type I IFN-mediated innate immunity against herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1) infection. Human neuronal cells expressed TLR family members 1-10 and IFN-alpha/beta. The activation of TLR3 or TLR8 by double-stranded RNA (poly-I:C) or single-stranded RNA (ssRNA) induced IFN-alpha/beta expression. In addition, HSV-1 infection of human neuronal cells induced IFN-alpha expression. Investigation of the mechanisms showed that poly-I:C or ssRNA treatment enhanced the expression of several IFN regulatory factors. Importantly, the activation of TLR3 or TLR8 by poly-I:C or ssRNA prior to HSV-1 infection reduced the susceptibility of the neuronal cells to infection. These observations indicate that human neuronal cells possess intracellular TLR-mediated innate immune protection against HSV-1 infection.
2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.