Tamm-Horsfall glycoprotein (THP) is expressed exclusively in the kidney and constitutes the most abundant protein in mammalian urine. A critical role for THP in antibacterial host defense and inflammatory disorders of the urogenital tract has been suggested. We demonstrate that THP activates myeloid DCs via Toll-like receptor-4 (TLR4) to acquire a fully mature DC phenotype. THP triggers typical TLR signaling, culminating in activation of NF-κB. Bone marrow–derived macrophages from TLR4- and MyD88-deficient mice were nonresponsive to THP in contrast to those from TLR2- and TLR9-deficient mice. In vivo THP-driven TNF-α production was evident in WT but not in Tlr4–/– mice. Importantly, generation of THP-specific Abs consistently detectable in urinary tract inflammation was completely blunted in Tlr4–/– mice. These data show that THP is a regulatory factor of innate and adaptive immunity and therefore could have significant impact on host immunity in the urinary tract.
Marcus D. Säemann, Thomas Weichhart, Maximilian Zeyda, Günther Staffler, Michael Schunn, Karl M. Stuhlmeier, Yuri Sobanov, Thomas M. Stulnig, Shizuo Akira, Alexander von Gabain, Uwe von Ahsen, Walter H. Hörl, Gerhard J. Zlabinger