RIG-I-Like Receptors Mediate Innate Antiviral Response in Mouse Testis

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The testis is an immune privileged organ in which the tissue-specific cells have adopted effective innate immune functions against microbial pathogens. Toll-like receptors (TLRs) mediate innate immune response in the testis. The current study demonstrates that melanoma differentiation-associated protein 5 (MDA5) and retinoic acid-inducible gene I (RIG-I) initiate the testicular innate antiviral response. Both MDA5 and RIG-I are expressed in Leydig cells, and MDA5 is also expressed in spermatids. Polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid [poly(I:C)], a common agonist of MDA5 and RIG-I, significantly induces the expression of type I interferons (IFN-α/β) and antiviral proteins, including IFN-stimulated gene 15, 2′5′-oligoadenylate synthetase 1, and Mx GTPase 1, in primary TLR3-deficient (TLR3−/−) Leydig and germ cells. Moreover, major proinflammatory cytokines, including TNF-α and IL-6, are significantly up-regulated by poly(I:C) in these testicular cells. The poly(I:C)-induced innate antiviral response in the testicular cells is significantly reduced by knockdown of individual MDA5 and RIG-I using specific small interfering RNA. We also provide evidence that local injection of poly(I:C) induces antiviral response in the testis of TLR3−/− mice. These data provide novel insights into the mechanisms underlying testicular antiviral response.

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