Treponema pallidumflagellins stimulate MMP-9 and MMP-13 expression via TLR5 and MAPK/NF-κB signaling pathways in human epidermal keratinocytes

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Syphilis is a chronic disease caused by Treponema pallidum and the pathogenesis is still unclear. T. pallidum infection induced inflammatory responses are involved in the immunopathological damage in skin and other tissues. Flagellin, the monomeric subunit of bacterial flagella, is a classic pathogen associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) that interacts to TLR5 and induces inflammatory responses. Keratinocytes, as immune sentinels recognize the PAMPs via TLRs, play an important role in skin innate immune response. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) expressed by keratinocytes are involved in skin inflammatory responses and promoting pathogens invasion. In this study, we demonstrate that FlaB1, FlaB2 and FlaB3, the flagellins of T. pallidum, induced MMP-9 and MMP-13 production in human immortalized keratinocytes cell line HaCaT. Silencing of TLR5, but not TLR2 and TLR4 attenuated MMP-9 and MMP-13 expressions induced by T. pallidum flagellins. MMP-9 and MMP-13 expressions were also be abrogated by transfection with a dominant negative (DN) plasmid of MyD88. We also found that treatment of HaCaT cells with FlaB1, FlaB2 and FlaB3 activate the MAPK and NF-κB signaling pathways. Inhibited of ERK, JNK, p38 and NF-κB suppressed MMP-9 expression induced by the FlaB1. MMP-13 expression was found to be suppressed by pretreatment with inhibitors of ERK, JNK and NF-κB, but not p38. These findings demonstrate that T. pallidum flagellins (FlaB1, FlaB2 or FlaB3) can stimulate MMP-9 and MMP-13 expression through TLR5 and MAPK/NF-κB signaling pathways in human epidermal keratinocytes, which could contribute to the pathogenesis of T. pallidum infection.HighlightsT. pallidum flagellins induced MMPs expression in HaCaT cells via TLR5/MyD88 pathway.MAPK and NF-κB are involved in T. pallidum flagellins induced MMPs expression.MMPs may contribute to skin inflammatory response during T. pallidum infection.

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