Epigenetic Regulation of TLR4 Gene Expression in Intestinal Epithelial Cells for the Maintenance of Intestinal Homeostasis

J Immunol. 2009 Nov 15;183(10):6522-9. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.0901271. Epub 2009 Oct 21.


Intestinal epithelial cells (IECs) are continuously exposed to large numbers of commensal bacteria but are relatively insensitive to them, thereby averting an excessive inflammatory reaction. In this study, we show that the low responsiveness of human IEC lines to LPS was mainly brought about by a down-regulation of TLR4 gene transcription. Additionally, the presence of an IEC-specific repressor element in the 5' region of the TLR4 gene and binding of a NF to the element was shown. The transcription factor ZNF160, which was expressed more abundantly in a LPS-low responder IEC line than in a LPS-high responder IEC line, repressed TLR4 gene transcription. ZNF160 is known to interact with the scaffold protein KAP1 via its N terminus to recruit histone deacetylase. Histone deacetylation, as well as DNA methylation, at the 5' region of the TLR4 gene was significantly higher in LPS-low responder IEC lines than in a monocyte line or a LPS-high responder IEC line. It was demonstrated that TLR4 gene transcription was repressed by these epigenetic regulations, which were, at least in part, dependent on ZNF160. Down-regulaton of TLR4 gene expression by these mechanisms in IECs possibly contributes to the maintainance of homeostasis in the intestinal commensal system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • DNA Methylation / genetics
  • DNA Methylation / immunology
  • Down-Regulation / genetics
  • Down-Regulation / immunology
  • Epigenesis, Genetic*
  • Genes, Reporter / genetics
  • Genes, Reporter / immunology
  • Histone Deacetylases / genetics
  • Histone Deacetylases / immunology
  • Homeostasis / genetics
  • Homeostasis / immunology
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-8 / biosynthesis
  • Interleukin-8 / immunology
  • Intestinal Mucosa / immunology*
  • Lipopolysaccharides / pharmacology
  • NF-kappa B / immunology
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / genetics
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / immunology
  • Repressor Proteins / genetics
  • Repressor Proteins / metabolism*
  • Toll-Like Receptor 4 / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Toll-Like Receptor 4 / genetics*


  • CXCL8 protein, human
  • Interleukin-8
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • NF-kappa B
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Toll-Like Receptor 4
  • zinc finger protein 160, human
  • Histone Deacetylases