Indexed on: 25 Jan '17Published on: 25 Jan '17Published in: Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950)
TLR9 acts as a first-line host defense against pathogens recognizing DNA comprising unmethylated CpG motifs present in bacteria and viruses. Species- and sequence-specific recognition differences were demonstrated for TLR9 receptors. Activation of human (h)TLR9 requires a pair of closely positioned CpG motifs within oligodeoxyribonucleotides (ODNs), whereas mouse TLR9 is effectively activated by an ODN with a single CpG motif. Molecular model-directed mutagenesis identified two regions, site A and site B, as important for receptor activation. Amino acid residues Gln(346) and Arg(348) within site A contribute to the sequence-specific recognition by hTLR9 in determining the bias for two appropriately spaced CpG motifs within immunostimulatory ODNs. Mutation of Gln(562) at site B, in combination with Gln(346) and Arg(348) mutations of mouse counterparts, increased activation of hTLR9 by mouse-specific ODN, mammalian genomic DNA, and bacterial DNA. We propose that the double CpG motif sequence-specificity of hTLR9 results in decreased activation by ODNs with a lower frequency of CpG motifs, such as from mammalian genomic DNA, which increases hTLR9 selectivity for pathogen versus host DNA.