Innate Sensing through Mesenchymal TLR4/MyD88 Signals Promotes Spontaneous Intestinal Tumorigenesis

Cell Rep. 2019 Jan 15;26(3):536-545.e4. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2018.12.072.


MyD88, an adaptor molecule downstream of innate pathways, plays a significant tumor-promoting role in sporadic intestinal carcinogenesis of the Apcmin/+ model, which carries a mutation in the Apc gene. Here, we show that deletion of MyD88 in intestinal mesenchymal cells (IMCs) significantly reduces tumorigenesis in this model. This phenotype is associated with decreased epithelial cell proliferation, altered inflammatory and tumorigenic immune cell infiltration, and modified gene expression similar to complete MyD88 knockout mice. Genetic deletion of TLR4, but not interleukin-1 receptor (IL-1R), in IMCs led to altered molecular profiles and reduction of intestinal tumors similar to the MyD88 deficiency. Ex vivo analysis in IMCs indicated that these effects could be mediated through downstream signals involving growth factors and inflammatory and extracellular matrix (ECM)-regulating genes, also found in human cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs). Our results provide direct evidence that during tumorigenesis, IMCs and CAFs are activated by innate TLR4/MyD88-mediated signals and promote carcinogenesis in the intestine.

Keywords: cancer-associated fibroblasts; innate immunity; tumor microenvironment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carcinogenesis
  • Humans
  • Intestines / pathology*
  • Mice
  • Myeloid Differentiation Factor 88 / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Toll-Like Receptor 4 / metabolism*


  • Myeloid Differentiation Factor 88
  • Tlr4 protein, mouse
  • Toll-Like Receptor 4