Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are a family of pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) that modulate innate immune responses and play essential roles in the pathogenesis of heart diseases. Although important, the molecular mechanisms controlling cardiac TLR genes expression have not been clearly addressed. This study examined the expression pattern of Tlr1, Tlr2, Tlr3, Tlr4, Tlr5, Tlr6, Tlr7, Tlr8, and Tlr9 in normal and disease-stressed mouse hearts. Our results demonstrated that the expression levels of cardiac Tlr3, Tlr7, Tlr8, and Tlr9 increased with age between neonatal and adult developmental stages, whereas the expression of Tlr5 decreased with age. Furthermore, pathological stress increased the expression levels of Tlr2, Tlr4, Tlr5, Tlr7, Tlr8, and Tlr9. Hippo-YAP signaling is essential for heart development and homeostasis maintenance, and YAP/TEAD1 complex is the terminal effector of this pathway. Here we found that TEAD1 directly bound genomic regions adjacent to Tlr1, Tlr2, Tlr3, Tlr4, Tlr5, Tlr6, Tlr7, and Tlr9. In vitro, luciferase reporter data suggest that YAP/TEAD1 repression of Tlr4 depends on a conserved TEAD1 binding motif near Tlr4 transcription start site. In vivo, cardiomyocyte-specific YAP depletion increased the expression of most examined TLR genes, activated the synthesis of pro-inflammatory cytokines, and predisposed the heart to lipopolysaccharide stress. In conclusion, our data indicate that the expression of cardiac TLR genes is associated with age and activated by pathological stress and suggest that YAP/TEAD1 complex is a default repressor of cardiac TLR genes.
Keywords: TEAD1; TLR4; Toll-like receptor; YAP; cardiomyocyte; heart; innate immune responses.