Activation of the host antibacterial defenses by the toll-like receptors (TLR) also selectively activates energy-sensing and metabolic pathways, but the mechanisms are poorly understood. This includes the metabolic and mitochondrial biogenesis master co-activators, Ppargc1a (PGC-1α) and Ppargc1b (PGC-1β) in Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) sepsis. The expression of these genes in the liver is markedly attenuated inTLR2 -/- mice and markedly accentuated in TLR4 -/- mice compared with wild type (WT) mice. We sought to explain this difference by using specific TLR-pathway knockout mice to test the hypothesis that these co-activator genes are directly regulated through TLR2 signaling. By comparing their responses to S. aureus with WT mice, we found that MyD88-deficient and MAL-deficient mice expressed hepatic Ppargc1a and Ppargc1b normally, but that neither gene was activated in TRAM-deficient mice. Ppargc1a/b activation did not require NF-kβ, but did require an interferon response factor (IRF), because neither gene was activated in IRF-3/7 double-knockout mice in sepsis, but both were activated normally in Unc93b1-deficient (3d) mice. Nuclear IRF-7 levels in TLR2 -/- and TLR4 -/- mice decreased and increased respectively post-inoculation and IRF-7 DNA-binding at the Ppargc1a promoter was demonstrated by chromatin immunoprecipitation. Also, a TLR2-TLR4-TRAM native hepatic protein complex was detected by immunoprecipitation within 6 h of S. aureus inoculation that could support MyD88-independent signaling to Ppargc1a/b. Overall, these findings disclose a novel MyD88-independent pathway in S. aureus sepsis that links TLR2 and TLR4 signaling in innate immunity to Ppargc1a/b gene regulation in a critical metabolic organ, the liver, by means of TRAM, TRIF, and IRF-7.
Sweeney, T. E., Suliman, H. B., Hollingsworth, J. W., Welty-Wolf, K. E., & Piantadosi, C. A. (2011). A toll-like receptor 2 pathway regulates the Ppargc1a/b metabolic co-activators in mice with Staphylococcal aureus sepsis. PLoS ONE, 6(9). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0025249