T cell expression of MyD88 is required for resistance to Toxoplasma gondii

David F. LaRosa, Jason S. Stumhofer, Andrew E. Gelman, Adeeb H. Rahman, Devon K. Taylor, Christopher A. Hunter, Laurence A. Turka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


Resistance to Toxoplasma gondii depends on dendritic cells to recognize this pathogen and secrete IL-12, in turn promoting IFN-γ production from responding T cells. The adaptor protein, myeloid differentiation primary-response gene 88 (MyD88), is important for most Toll-like receptor (TLR) signaling, as well as IL-1R/IL-18R signals. There is considerable evidence that MyD88 is required for the innate sensing of T. gondii and IL-12 responses. Although Myd88-/- mice challenged with T. gondii have defective IL-12 and Th1 effector responses and succumb to disease, administration of IL-12 to Myd88-/- mice partially restores the Th1 response and yet fails to prolong survival. This finding suggested that MyD88 may mediate signals within T cells important for resistance to this pathogen. To evaluate the role of MyD88 in T cells under noncompetitive conditions, bone marrow chimeras were generated, in which the T cells lacked MyD88, but MyD88-dependent innate immune responses were intact. Upon challenge with T. gondii, these chimeric mice were more susceptible to disease, developing severe toxoplasmic encephalitis and succumbing within 30 days. Splenocytes and brain mononuclear cells isolated from infected chimeric mice produced less IFN-γ when cultured with a T. gondii-derived antigen. The increase in susceptibility observed was independent of signals via the IL-1R and IL-18R, suggesting a role for TLRs in MyD88-mediated T cell responses to T. gondii. These observations show that, in addition to a role for MyD88 in innate responses, T cell expression of MyD88 is necessary for prolonged resistance to a pathogen.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3855-3860
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number10
StatePublished - Mar 25 2008


  • Adaptive immunity
  • IL-1 receptor family
  • Intracellular parasite
  • Protozoan parasite
  • Toll-like receptor


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