TLR3-Dependent Activation of TLR2 Endogenous Ligands via the MyD88 Signaling Pathway Augments the Innate Immune Response

Cells. 2020 Aug 17;9(8):1910. doi: 10.3390/cells9081910.


The role of the adaptor molecule MyD88 is thought to be independent of Toll-like receptor 3 (TLR3) signaling. In this report, we demonstrate a previously unknown role of MyD88 in TLR3 signaling in inducing endogenous ligands of TLR2 to elicit innate immune responses. Of the various TLR ligands examined, the TLR3-specific ligand polyinosinic:polycytidylic acid (poly I:C), significantly induced TNF production and the upregulation of other TLR transcripts, in particular, TLR2. Accordingly, TLR3 stimulation also led to a significant upregulation of endogenous TLR2 ligands mainly, HMGB1 and Hsp60. By contrast, the silencing of TLR3 significantly downregulated MyD88 and TLR2 gene expression and pro-inflammatory IL1β, TNF, and IL8 secretion. The silencing of MyD88 similarly led to the downregulation of TLR2, IL1β, TNF and IL8, thus suggesting MyD88 to somehow act downstream of TLR3. Corroborating in vitro data, Myd88-/- knockout mice downregulated TNF, CXCL1; and phospho-p65 and phospho-IRF3 nuclear localization, upon poly I:C treatment in a mouse model of skin infection. Taken together, we identified a previously unknown role for MyD88 in the TLR3 signaling pathway, underlying the importance of TLRs and adapter protein interplay in modulating endogenous TLR ligands culminating in pro-inflammatory cytokine regulation.

Keywords: HMGB1; Hsp60; MyD88; TLR3; human gingival epithelial cells; pro-inflammatory cytokine.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism
  • Female
  • Gingiva / cytology
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate*
  • Ligands
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Myeloid Differentiation Factor 88 / genetics
  • Myeloid Differentiation Factor 88 / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction / genetics*
  • Toll-Like Receptor 2 / genetics
  • Toll-Like Receptor 2 / metabolism*
  • Toll-Like Receptor 3 / genetics
  • Toll-Like Receptor 3 / metabolism*
  • Transfection


  • Ligands
  • MYD88 protein, human
  • Myd88 protein, mouse
  • Myeloid Differentiation Factor 88
  • TLR2 protein, human
  • TLR3 protein, human
  • TLR3 protein, mouse
  • Tlr2 protein, mouse
  • Toll-Like Receptor 2
  • Toll-Like Receptor 3