Background. CD14, a coreceptor for several pattern recognition receptors and a widely used monocyte/macrophage marker, plays a key role in host responses to gram-negative bacteria. Despite the central role of CD14 in the inflammatory response to lipopolysaccharide and other microbial products and in the dissemination of bacteria in some infections, the signaling networks controlled by CD14 during urinary tract infection (UTI) are unknown.
Methods. We used uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC) infection of wild-type (WT) C57BL/6 and Cd14−/− mice and RNA sequencing to define the CD14-dependent transcriptional signature and the role of CD14 in host defense against UTI in the bladder.
Results. UPEC induced the upregulation of Cd14 and the monocyte/macrophage-related genes Emr1/F4/80 and Csf1r/c-fms, which was associated with lower UPEC burdens in WT mice, compared with Cd14−/− mice. Exacerbation of infection in Cd14−/− mice was associated with the absence of a 491-gene transcriptional signature in the bladder that encompassed multiple host networks not previously associated with this receptor. CD14-dependent pathways included immune cell trafficking, differential cytokine production in macrophages, and interleukin 17 signaling. Depletion of monocytes/macrophages in the bladder by administration of liposomal clodronate led to higher UPEC burdens.
Conclusions. This study identifies new host protective and signaling roles for CD14 in the bladder during UPEC UTI.