Distinct toll-like receptor signaling in the salamander response to tissue damage

Dev Dyn. 2022 Jun;251(6):988-1003. doi: 10.1002/dvdy.340. Epub 2021 Apr 8.


Background: Efficient wound healing or pathogen clearance both rely on balanced inflammatory responses. Inflammation is essential for effective innate immune-cell recruitment; however, excessive inflammation will result in local tissue destruction, pathogen egress, and ineffective pathogen clearance. Sterile and nonsterile inflammation operate with competing functional priorities but share common receptors and overlapping signal transduction pathways. In regenerative organisms such as the salamander, whole limbs can be replaced after amputation while exposed to a nonsterile environment. In mammals, exposure to sterile-injury Damage Associated Molecular Patterns (DAMPS) alters innate immune-cell responsiveness to secondary Pathogen Associated Molecular Pattern (PAMP) exposure.

Results: Using new phospho-flow cytometry techniques to measure signaling in individual cell subsets we compared mouse to salamander inflammation. These studies demonstrated evolutionarily conserved responses to PAMP ligands through toll-like receptors (TLRs) but identified key differences in response to DAMP ligands. Co-exposure of macrophages to DAMPs/PAMPs suppressed MAPK signaling in mammals, but not salamanders, which activate sustained MAPK stimulation in the presence of endogenous DAMPS.

Conclusions: These results reveal an alternative signal transduction network compatible with regeneration that may ultimately lead to the promotion of enhanced tissue repair in mammals.

Keywords: DAMP; PAMP; axolotl; inflammation; macrophages; phospho-flow; regeneration; salamander; wound-healing. Toll-like receptor.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Inflammation
  • Ligands
  • Mammals / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Pathogen-Associated Molecular Pattern Molecules*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Toll-Like Receptors / metabolism
  • Urodela*


  • Ligands
  • Pathogen-Associated Molecular Pattern Molecules
  • Toll-Like Receptors