Identification of novel innate immune genes by transcriptional profiling of macrophages stimulated with TLR ligands

Mol Immunol. 2011 Sep;48(15-16):1886-95. doi: 10.1016/j.molimm.2011.05.015. Epub 2011 Jun 12.


Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are key receptors in innate immunity and trigger responses following interaction with pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs). TLR3, TLR4 and TLR9 recognize double stranded RNA, lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and CpG DNA, respectively. These receptors differ importantly in downstream adaptor molecules. TLR4 signals through MyD88 and TRIF; in contrast, the TLR3 pathway involves only TRIF while TLR9 signals solely through MyD88. To determine how differences in downstream signaling could influence gene expression in innate immunity, gene expression patterns were determined for the RAW264.7 macrophage cell line stimulated with LPS, poly (I:C), or CpG DNA. Gene expression profiles 6 and 24h post-stimulation were analyzed to determine genes, pathways and transcriptional networks induced. As these experiments showed, the number and extent of genes expressed varied with stimulus. LPS and poly (I:C) induced an abundant array of genes in RAW264.7 cells at 6h and 24h following treatment while CpG DNA induced many fewer. By analyzing data for networks and pathways, we prioritized differentially expressed genes with respect to those common to the three TLR ligands as well as those shared by LPS and poly (I:C) but not CpG DNA. The importance of changes in gene expression was demonstrated by experiments indicating that RNA interference-mediated inhibition of two genes identified in this analysis, PLEC1 and TPST1, reduced IL-6 production by J774A.1 and RAW264.7 macrophages stimulated with LPS. Together, these findings delineate macrophage gene response patterns induced by different PAMPs and identify new genes that have not previously been implicated in innate immunity.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA / immunology
  • Gene Expression Profiling*
  • Immunity, Innate / genetics*
  • Ligands
  • Lipopolysaccharides / immunology
  • Macrophages / immunology*
  • Mice
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Poly I-C / immunology
  • RNA Interference
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Toll-Like Receptors / immunology
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Ligands
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Toll-Like Receptors
  • DNA
  • Poly I-C