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Leucine-Rich Repeats and Calponin Homology containing 4 regulates the innate immune response

Aloor, JJ;Azzam, KM;Guardiola, JJ;Gowdy, KM;Madenspacher, JH;Gabor, KA;Mueller, GA;Lin, WC;Lowe, JM;Gruzdev, A;Henderson, MW;Draper, DW;Merrick, BA;Fessler, MB;

Toll-like Receptors (TLRs) are pathogen-recognition receptors that trigger the innate immune response. Recent reports have identified accessory proteins that provide essential support to TLR function through ligand delivery and receptor trafficking.  Herein, we introduce leucine-rich repeats (LRR) and calponin homology containing 4 (Lrch4) as a novel TLR accessory protein. Lrch4 is a membrane protein with 9 LRRs in its predicted ectodomain.  It is widely expressed across murine tissues, and has two expression variants that are both regulated by lipopolysaccharide (LPS).  Predictive modeling indicates that Lrch4 LRRs conform to the horseshoe-shaped structure typical of LRRs in pathogen-recognition receptors, and that the best structural match in the protein database is to the variable lymphocyte receptor of the jawless vertebrate, hagfish.  Silencing Lrch4 attenuates cytokine induction by LPS and multiple other TLR ligands and dampens the in vivo innate immune response. Lrch4 promotes proper docking of LPS in lipid raft membrane microdomains.  We provide evidence that this is through regulation of lipid rafts as Lrch4 silencing reduces cell surface gangliosides, a metric of raft abundance, as well as expression and surface display of CD14, a raft-resident LPS co-receptor. Taken together, we identify Lrch4 as a broad-spanning regulator of the innate immune response and a potential molecular target in inflammatory disease. Published under license by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.