Reduced surface expression of TLR4 by a V254I point mutation accounts for the low lipopolysaccharide responder phenotype of BALB/c B cells

J Immunol. 2013 Jan 1;190(1):195-204. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1201047. Epub 2012 Nov 30.


LPS is recognized by TLR4 and radioprotective 105 kDa in B cells. Susceptibility to LPS in murine B cells is most closely linked to the locus containing the TLR4 gene. However, the molecular mechanism underlying genetic control of LPS sensitivity by this locus has not been fully elucidated. In this study, we revealed that C57BL/6 (B6) B cells respond to mAb-induced, TLR4-specific signals stronger than BALB/c (BALB) B cells, as assessed by proliferation and upregulation of CD69 and CD86. In contrast, BALB B cells were not hyporesponsive to agonistic anti-radioprotective 105 kDa mAb or the TLR9 agonist CpG. Although the level of TLR4 mRNA in BALB B cells was comparable with that in B6 B cells, surface TLR4 expression in BALB B cells was lower than that in B6 B cells. This lower surface expression of BALB TLR4 was also observed when HEK293 and Ba/F3 cells were transfected with a BALB TLR4 expression construct. We identified a V254I mutation as the responsible single nucleotide polymorphism for lower surface expression of BALB TLR4. Furthermore, cotransfection of myeloid differentiation factor-2 increased BALB TLR4 expression, although it was still lower than B6 TLR4 expression. In concordance with reduced expression, Ba/F3 cells transfected with BALB TLR4 and myeloid differentiation factor-2 were hyporesponsive compared with those with B6 TLR4, as assessed by LPS-induced NF-κB activation. In conclusion, we revealed that LPS sensitivity is genetically controlled by the level of surface TLR4 expression on B cells. A V254I mutation accounts for the LPS hyporesponsive phenotype of BALB B cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • B-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology*
  • B-Lymphocyte Subsets / metabolism
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Membrane / genetics
  • Cell Membrane / immunology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Lipopolysaccharides / biosynthesis
  • Lipopolysaccharides / genetics*
  • Lymphocyte Activation / genetics
  • Lymphocyte Activation / immunology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Point Mutation / immunology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Toll-Like Receptor 4 / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Toll-Like Receptor 4 / biosynthesis*
  • Toll-Like Receptor 4 / deficiency


  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • TLR4 protein, human
  • Toll-Like Receptor 4