The current model of innate immune recognition of Gram-positive bacteria suggests that the bacterial cell wall interacts with host recognition proteins such as TLRs and Nod proteins. We describe an additional recognition system mediated by the platelet-activating factor receptor (PAFr) and directed to the pathogen-associated molecular pattern phosphorylcholine that results in the uptake of bacterial components into host cells. Intravascular choline-containing cell walls bound to endothelial cells and caused rapid lethality in wild-type, Tlr2-/-, and Nod2-/- mice but not in Pafr-/- mice. The cell wall exited the vasculature into the heart and brain, accumulating within endothelial cells, cardiomyocytes, and neurons in a PAFr-dependent way. Physiological consequences of the cell wall/PAFr interaction were cell specific, being noninflammatory in endothelial cells and neurons but causing a rapid loss of cardiomyocyte contractility that contributed to death. Thus, PAFr shepherds phosphorylcholine-containing bacterial components such as the cell wall into host cells from where the response ranges from quiescence to severe pathophysiology.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy