The Role of TLR2 and TLR4 in Recognition and Uptake of the Apicomplexan Parasite Eimeria bovis and Their Effects on NET Formation

Tamara Muñoz-Caro, Amanda Jane Gibson, Iván Conejeros, Dirk Werling, Anja Taubert, Carlos Hermosilla

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Background: Bovine polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMN) constitutively express the Toll-like receptors (TLRs) TLR2 and TLR4 and have been shown to generate Neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) upon exposure to Eimeria bovis. The present work investigated the role of TLR2 and TLR4 in the recognition and uptake of E. bovis sporozoites, IL-8 production and neutrophil extracellular trap (NET) formation. Methods: TLR expression was performed by flow cytometric analysis on PMN exposed to live carboxyfluorescein succinimidyl ester (CFSE)-stained sporozoites. Supernatants of PMN exposed to different E. bovis sporozoite preparations and antigens in the absence or presence of TLR antibodies were assessed for IL-8 secretion. Cells were exposed to sporozoite preparations and assessed for the activation of transcription factor NF-κB using a luciferase reporter assay. Immunofluorescence analysis was done to investigate TLR2 and TLR4 surface expression and NET formation on bovine PMN exposed to vital sporozoites. Results: we observed significantly increased TLR2 and TLR4 expression with a mean increase in expression that was greater for TLR2 than TLR4. This upregulation neither inhibited nor promoted sporozoite phagocytosis by bovine PMN. Live sporozoites together with anti-TLR2 mAb resulted in a significant enhancement of IL-8 production. NF-κB activation was more strongly induced in TLR2-HEK cells than in TLR4/MD2-HEK cells exposed to heat-killed sporozoites and antigens. Immunofluorescence analysis showed TLR-positive signals on the surface of PMN and concomitant NET formation. Conclusions: This is the first report on E. bovis-induced concomitant TLR2 and TLR4 expression during bovine PMN-derived NETosis.
Original languageEnglish
Article number118
Number of pages15
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jan 2021


  • E. bovis
  • IL-8
  • Neutrophil extracellular traps
  • TLR


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