Four of the five members of the Toll/IL-1R domain-containing adaptor family are required for signaling downstream of TLRs, promoting innate immune responses against different pathogens. However, the role of the fifth member of this family, sterile α and Toll/IL-1R domain-containing 1 (SARM), is unclear. SARM is expressed primarily in the CNS where it is required for axonal death. Studies in Caenorhabditis elegans have also shown a role for SARM in innate immunity. To clarify the role of mammalian SARM in innate immunity, we infected SARM-/- mice with a number of bacterial and viral pathogens. SARM-/- mice show normal responses to Listeria monocytogenes, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and influenza virus, but show dramatic protection from death after CNS infection with vesicular stomatitis virus. Protection correlates with reduced CNS injury and cytokine production by nonhematopoietic cells, suggesting that SARM is a positive regulator of cytokine production. Neurons and microglia are the predominant source of cytokines in vivo, supporting a role for SARM as a link between neuronal injury and innate immunity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy