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Repertoire of Escherichia coli agonists sensed by innate immunity receptors of the bovine udder and mammary epithelial cells

Veterinary Research
Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.)
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1186/1297-9716-43-14
  • Research


Escherichia coli is a frequent cause of clinical mastitis in dairy cows. It has been shown that a prompt response of the mammary gland after E. coli entry into the lumen of the gland is required to control the infection, which means that the early detection of bacteria is of prime importance. Yet, apart from lipopolysaccharide (LPS), little is known of the bacterial components which are detected by the mammary innate immune system. We investigated the repertoire of potential bacterial agonists sensed by the udder and bovine mammary epithelial cells (bMEC) during E. coli mastitis by using purified or synthetic molecular surrogates of bacterial agonists of identified pattern-recognition receptors (PRRs). The production of CXCL8 and the influx of leucocytes in milk were the readouts of reactivity of stimulated cultured bMEC and challenged udders, respectively. Quantitative PCR revealed that bMEC in culture expressed the nucleotide oligomerization domain receptors NOD1 and NOD2, along with the Toll-like receptors TLR1, TLR2, TLR4, and TLR6, but hardly TLR5. In line with expression data, bMEC proved to react to the cognate agonists C12-iE-DAP (NOD1), Pam3CSK4 (TLR1/2), Pam2CSK4 (TLR2/6), pure LPS (TLR4), but not to flagellin (TLR5). As the udder reactivity to NOD1 and TLR5 agonists has never been reported, we tested whether the mammary gland reacted to intramammary infusion of C12-iE-DAP or flagellin. The udder reacted to C12-iE-DAP, but not to flagellin, in line with the reactivity of bMEC. These results extend our knowledge of the reactivity of the bovine mammary gland to bacterial agonists of the innate immune system, and suggest that E. coli can be recognized by several PRRs including NOD1, but unexpectedly not by TLR5. The way the mammary gland senses E. coli is likely to shape the innate immune response and finally the outcome of E. coli mastitis.

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