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A Novel Polymorphism In The Toll-Like Receptor 2 Gene And Its Potential Association With Staphylococcal Infection

Eva Lorenz, Jean Paul Mira, Kristyn L. Cornish, Nancy C. Arbour, David A. Schwartz

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ABSTRACT The toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) has gained importance as a major mammalian receptor for lipoproteins derived from the cell wall of a variety of bacteria, such as Borrelia burgdorferi , Treponema pallidum , and Mycoplasma fermentans . We were interested in identifying mutations in the TLR2 gene that might prove to be associated with altered susceptibility to septic shock. We performed a mutation screen of the TLR2 gene using single-stranded conformational polymorphism in 110 normal, healthy study subjects and detected an Arg753Gln mutation in three individuals. No other missense mutations were detected in the TLR2 open reading frame. Functional studies demonstrate that the Arg753Gln polymorphism, in comparison to the wild-type TLR2 gene, is significantly less responsive to bacterial peptides derived from B. burgdorferi and T. pallidum . In a septic shock population, the Arg753Gln TLR2 polymorphism occurred in 2 out of 91 septic patients. More importantly, both of the subjects with the TLR2 Arg753Gln polymorphism had staphylococcal infections. These findings suggest that a mutation in the TLR2 gene may predispose individuals to life-threatening bacterial infections.