Mastitis-inflammation of the mammary gland is an important disease affecting dairy animals worldwide. The disease is caused by mammary pathogenic bacteria, and Escherichia coli is frequently implicated. Intramammary challenge with bacterial LPS is sufficient to elicit the disease. However, using toll-like receptor (TLR) 4-deficient mice, we previously found that mammary pathogenic E. coli is still able to elicit neutrophil recruitment, indicating the presence of bacterial virulence factors other than LPS. To date, no specific virulence factors have been identified in E. coli isolates associated with mastitis, and other microbe-associated molecular patterns (MAMPs), such as bacterial lipoproteins, are prime candidates. The synthetic analog of bacterial lipopeptides, Pam 3 CSK 4 , is recognized by TLR2 and mimics the proinflammatory properties of triacylated lipoproteins of Gram-negative bacteria.The aim of the present work was to determine the role of bacterial lipoproteins recognized by TLR2 on mammary cells as virulence factors in the mammary gland. Using the murine mastitis model, we previously showed that following intramammary LPS challenge, neutrophil recruitment is strictly dependent on alveolar macrophages. Thus, the role of alveolar macrophages in the response to intramammary bacterial lipoprotein challenge was also studied. Here, Pam 3 CSK 4 infusion induced mastitis in wild-type mice, but not in TLR2-deficient mice. The wild-type phenotype was not restored by adoptive transfer of TLR2-expressing macrophages into the alveolar milk space of TLR2-deficient mice, indicating that cells other than alveolar macrophages are essential for Pam 3 CSK 4 /TLR2 signaling. In contrast to the Pam 3 CSK 4 treatment, infection with E. coli P4 resulted in inflammation, even in the absence of TLR2 signaling, indicating that lipoproteins are sufficient, but not essential virulence factors in the pathogenesis of the intact bacteria. However, in the absence of TLR2, the infecting E. coli P4 invaded the alveolar epithelial cells and formed intracellular bacterial communities, indicating that intact lipoprotein/TLR2 signaling is essential to restricting bacterial invasion.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by Israel Science Foundation grant no. 193/08 .
- Murine model
- Toll-like receptor