TLR1 protein drives immune response to certain food-borne illness in mice

July 10, 2012

A naturally occurring protein called TLR1 plays a critical role in protecting the body from illnesses caused by eating undercooked pork or drinking contaminated water, according to new research from the University of Southern California (USC).

The discovery may help create more effective oral vaccines for infections of the respiratory and gastrointestinal systems and already has launched an examination of how TLR1 is linked to inflammatory bowel disease, says R. William DePaolo, assistant professor of and immunology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and the study's lead investigator.

"It's not clear what drives the body's immune response," DePaolo said. "This paper identifies a receptor that is important in driving a mucosal immune response against Yersinia enterocolitica, bacteria like Salmonella and E. coli that can cause food poisoning. Although the receptor's role against other bacteria is still unknown, our research emphasizes that the way the body initiates an immune response depends on the pathogen and the route of infection."

The study, "A specific role for TLR1 in protective TH17 immunity during mucosal infection," is scheduled to appear in the July 30 edition of The , a leading biomedical journal published by the Rockefeller University Press. The manuscript is now available on the journal's website.

DePaolo's team compared the immune responses of mice bred with and without TLR1 when infected with Y. enterocolitica by mouth and by blood. They found that TLR1 played a significant role in controlling mucosal infection (by mouth) but not (by blood), initiating the creation of antibodies that specifically fight against .

"Now that we have identified the receptor's role, the next step is to determine how we can manipulate that receptor to enhance vaccine development," DePaolo said. "We also are studying the receptor in different models of mucosal inflammation including and colitis-associated cancers. The idea is to take a personalized approach to medicine and use genetic profiling to better treat or manage disease."

Explore further: New discovery brings customized tuberculosis therapies based on genotype closer to reality

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Gut microbes signal to the brain when they are full

November 24, 2015

Don't have room for dessert? The bacteria in your gut may be telling you something. Twenty minutes after a meal, gut microbes produce proteins that can suppress food intake in animals, reports a study published November 24 ...

New findings offer hope for diabetic wound healing

November 23, 2015

University of Notre Dame researchers have discovered a compound that accelerates diabetic wound healing, which may open the door to new treatment strategies. Non-healing chronic wounds are a major complication of diabetes, ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.