Interleukin-17D and Nrf2 mediate initial innate immune cell recruitment and restrict MCMV infection

Sci Rep. 2018 Sep 12;8(1):13670. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-32011-2.


Innate immune cells quickly infiltrate the site of pathogen entry and not only stave off infection but also initiate antigen presentation and promote adaptive immunity. The recruitment of innate leukocytes has been well studied in the context of extracellular bacterial and fungal infection but less during viral infections. We have recently shown that the understudied cytokine Interleukin (IL)-17D can mediate neutrophil, natural killer (NK) cell and monocyte infiltration in sterile inflammation and cancer. Herein, we show that early immune cell accumulation at the peritoneal site of infection by mouse cytomegalovirus (MCMV) is mediated by IL-17D. Mice deficient in IL-17D or the transcription factor Nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2 (Nrf2), an inducer of IL-17D, featured an early decreased number of innate immune cells at the point of viral entry and were more susceptible to MCMV infection. Interestingly, we were able to artificially induce innate leukocyte infiltration by applying the Nrf2 activator tert-butylhydroquinone (tBHQ), which rendered mice less susceptible to MCMV infection. Our results implicate the Nrf2/IL-17D axis as a sensor of viral infection and suggest therapeutic benefit in boosting this pathway to promote innate antiviral responses.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Herpesviridae Infections / immunology*
  • Hydroquinones / pharmacology
  • Immunity, Innate / immunology*
  • Interleukin-17 / genetics
  • Interleukin-17 / immunology*
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Muromegalovirus / growth & development
  • Muromegalovirus / immunology*
  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2 / genetics
  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2 / immunology*
  • Neutrophils / immunology
  • RNA Interference
  • RNA, Small Interfering / genetics


  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Hydroquinones
  • Il17d protein, mouse
  • Interleukin-17
  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2
  • Nfe2l2 protein, mouse
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • 2-tert-butylhydroquinone