Genetic analysis of the innate immune responses in wild-derived inbred strains of mice

Authors

  • Kristin Stephan,

    1. Graduate Program in Immunology, Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, USA
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  • Irina Smirnova,

    1. Department of Pathology, Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, USA
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  • Berri Jacque,

    1. Graduate Program in Immunology, Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, USA
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  • Alexander Poltorak Dr.

    Corresponding author
    1. Graduate Program in Immunology, Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, USA
    2. Department of Pathology, Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, USA
    3. Graduate Program in Genetics, Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, USA
    • Department of Pathology, Tufts University School of Medicine, 150 Harrison Avenue, J-512, Boston, MA 02111, USA, Fax: +1-617-636-2990
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Abstract

The vertebrate immune system has evolved to recognize nucleic acids of bacterial and viral origin. Microbial DNA, as well as synthetic oligonucleotides based on these motifs, activates innate immune pathways mediated by the family of Toll-like receptors (TLR) initiating a cascade of signals in immune cells necessary for responses to pathogens. However, not all of the proteins that participate in TLR-mediated responses have been identified. In studies described herein, we observed significant variation in innate immune responses among selected wild-derived strains of mice. Specifically, we show that mice of MOLF/Ei, Czech/Ei, and MSM/Ms strains are hypo-responsive to polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid (poly(I:C)) because of a mutation in Tlr3. In addition, we discovered a hypo-response to cytosine guanine dinuleotide in MOLF/Ei mice and established that it is not linked to Tlr9, but to another locus. Further inquiry revealed that this hypo-response is transmitted as a monogenic dominant trait that can be mapped and cloned through positional cloning methods. These results suggest the existence of a novel molecule that can alter pro-inflammatory signals or activate additional signal transduction pathways. In addition, they support the wild-derived mouse strain as a forward genetic tool for the identification of novel immunological phenotypes.

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