Myeloid Differentiation Factor 88 and Interleukin-1R1 Signaling Contribute to Resistance to Coccidioides Immitis

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Rodents are a natural host for the dimorphic pathogenic fungi Coccidioides immitis and Coccidioides posadasii, and mice are a good model for human infection. Humans and rodents both express Dectin-1 and Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) on myeloid cells, and those receptors collaborate to maximize the cytokine/chemokine responses to spherules (the tissue form of the fungi) and to formalin-killed spherules (FKS). We showed that Dectin-1 is necessary for resistance to pulmonary coccidioidomycosis, but the importance of TLR2 in vivo is uncertain. Myeloid differentiation factor 88 (MyD88) is the adapter protein for TLR2 and -4, interleukin-1R1 (IL-1R1), and IL-18R1. MyD88/TRIF -/- and MyD88 -/- mice were equally susceptible to C. immitis infection, in contrast to C57BL/6 (B6) controls. Of the four surface receptors, only IL-1R1 was required for resistance to C. immitis, partially explaining the susceptibility of MyD88 -/- mice. We also found that FKS stimulated production of IL-1Ra by bone marrow-derived dendritic cells (BMDCs), independent of MyD88 and Dectin-1. There also was a very high concentration of IL-1Ra in the lungs of infected B6 mice, supporting the potential importance of this regulatory IL-1 family protein in the largely ineffective response of B6 mice to coccidioidomycosis. These results suggest that IL-1R1 signaling is important for defense against C. immitis infection.