Peptidoglycan, not endotoxin, is the key mediator of cytokine gene expression induced in rainbow trout macrophages by crude LPS

Simon A. MacKenzie, Nerea Roher, Sebastian Boltaña, Frederick W. Goetz

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64 Citations (Scopus)


In rainbow trout macrophages, phenol-extracted lipopolysaccharide (LPS) preparations stimulate proinflammatory cytokine gene expression but ultrapure preparations of LPS are inactive. Crude LPS preparations could potentially have a number of contaminants including peptidoglycans (PGNs), nucleic acids and lipoproteins. Thus, in the current study we individually tested potentially contaminating pathogen associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) on rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) macrophages to determine which ones could induce proinflammatory cytokine expression. We found that PGNs derived from Gram-negative bacteria (Escherichia coli 0111:B4 and K12), are potent inducers of IL-1β and IL-6 gene expression and were equal to, or more potent than, crude LPS. On the other hand, PGNs of Gram-positive bacteria, DNA, RNA and lipoteichoic acid were weak stimulators, and lipid A, lipoprotein (Pam3CSK4) and ultrapure LPS were nonstimulatory. More importantly, crude LPS treated with lysozyme to degrade PGNs, exhibited greatly reduced activity in stimulating IL-1β and IL-6 gene expression, indicating that PGNs in the crude LPS are responsible for a significant amount of the proinflammatory activity. Finally, we showed that PGN treatment induces expression of COX-2 and the subsequent synthesis and release of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), an important mediator of inflammatory processes. The strong stimulatory effect of E. coli PGNs by themselves on trout macrophages suggests that the recognition of Gram-negative bacteria in trout is through PGNs in the bacterial wall, and indicates that the systems responsible for bacterial recognition in invertebrates (e.g., Drosophila) may also be conserved in some vertebrates. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1450-1457
JournalMolecular Immunology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2010


  • Endotoxin
  • Inflammatory gene expression
  • Lipopolysaccharide
  • Macrophages
  • Peptidoglycans
  • Rainbow trout

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