Expression of functional Toll-like receptor 2 on human epidermal keratinocytes.
Epidermal keratinocytes secrete cytokines, chemokines, and anti-microbial peptides in response to various microbial pathogens and their components including lipopolysaccharide (LPS). To identify the receptor(s) involved in the anti-microbial responses of epidermal keratinocytes, we analyzed expression of CD14, Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2), and TLR4 on cultured normal human epidermal keratinocytes (NHEK). Although CD14 and TLR2 mRNA were expressed in cultured NHEK, only TLR2 was detected on the cell surface. Cultured NHEK did not express TLR4 mRNA or protein. Commercial LPS preparations could stimulate epidermal keratinocytes to produce beta-defensin-2 and IL-8, and the LPS response was inhibited with mAb specific for TLR2, but not for CD14 or TLR4. Repurified LPS and lipid A did not stimulate epidermal keratinocytes, whereas peptidoglycan (PGN) from Gram-positive bacteria and yeast cell wall particle induced beta-defensin-2 and IL-8 production. Thus, cultured NHEK express functional TLR2, but not CD14 or TLR4, and the "LPS" response of epidermal keratinocytes shown in the previous studies might be mediated by TLR2-dependent recognition of non-LPS bacterial components contaminating in commercial LPS preparations. In the normal human skin, however, epidermal keratinocytes expressed both TLR2 and TLR4. Because TLR4 was induced in epidermal keratinocytes by in vitro stimulation with PGN from Gram-positive bacteria, constitutive expression of TLR4 on epidermal keratinocytes in vivo might also be induced by continuous recognition of the resident skin flora containing Gram-positive bacteria through TLR2.