Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are an important class of pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) that recognize microbial and danger signals. Their downstream signaling upon ligand binding is vital for initiation of the innate immune response. In human and mammalian models, myeloid differentiation factor 88 (MYD88) is known for its central role as an adaptor molecule in interleukin 1 receptor (IL-1R) and TLR signaling. The zebrafish is increasingly used as a complementary model system for disease research and drug screening. Here, we describe a zebrafish line with a truncated version of MyD88 as the first zebrafish mutant for a TLR signaling component. We show that this immune-compromised mutant has a lower survival rate under standard rearing conditions and is more susceptible to challenge with the acute bacterial pathogens Edwardsiella tarda and Salmonella typhimurium. Microarray and quantitative PCR analysis revealed that expression of genes for transcription factors central to innate immunity (including NF-κB and AP-1) and the pro-inflammatory cytokine Il1b, is dependent on MyD88 signaling during these bacterial infections. Nevertheless, expression of immune genes independent of MyD88 in the myd88 mutant line was sufficient to limit growth of an attenuated S. typhimurium strain. In the case of infection with the chronic bacterial pathogen Mycobacterium marinum, we show that MyD88 signaling has an important protective role during early pathogenesis. During mycobacterial infection, the myd88 mutant shows accelerated formation of granuloma-like aggregates and increased bacterial burden, with associated lower induction of genes central to innate immunity. This zebrafish myd88 mutant will be a valuable tool for further study of the role of IL1R and TLR signaling in the innate immunity processes underlying infectious diseases, inflammatory disorders and cancer.
- Received September 9, 2012.
- Accepted January 9, 2013.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0), which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium provided that the original work is properly cited and all further distributions of the work or adaptation are subject to the same Creative Commons License terms.