Veterinary immunology and immunopathology

Mutational analysis identifies leucine-rich repeat insertions crucial for pigeon toll-like receptor 7 recognition and signaling.

PMID 26553562


Toll-like receptor 7 (TLR7) is responsible for recognizing viral single-stranded RNA and antiviral imidazoquinoline compounds, leading to the activation of the innate immune response. In this study, mutated pigeon TLR7 fragments, in which the insertion at position 10 of leucine-rich repeat 10 (LRR10) or at position 15 of LRR2/11/13/14 was deleted, were amplified with an overlap-PCR method, and inserted into the expression vector pCMV. The immune functions of the TLR7 mutants were determined with an NF-κB luciferase assay of transfected cells. The deletion of the insertions absolutely abolished TLR7-NF-κB signaling. With quantitative real-time PCR and sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, we observed that stimulation with R848 failed to induce the expression of interleukin 8 (IL-8) in any of the mutant-TLR7-transfected cells, consistent with their lack of NF-κB activity. However, the expression of interferon α (IFN-α) and tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α) was significantly upregulated in the Del10IN10 and Del14IN15 groups. Remarkably, the levels of pigeon TLR7 expression were significantly increased in all the TLR7-mutated groups. Therefore, we speculate that another part of the deficient TLR7 mediates the induction of IFN-α and TNF-α by increasing the expression of TLR7 as compensation. However, the increased expression of TLR7 in the Del11IN15 group failed to induce the production of IFN-α, IL-8, or TNF-α, indicating that a false compensation occurred when the crucial LRR insertion was deleted.