Infection and tissue damage induces assembly of supramolecular organizing centres (SMOCs)), such as the Toll-like receptor (TLR) MyDDosome, to co-ordinate inflammatory signaling. SMOC assembly is thought to drive digital all-or-none responses, yet TLR activation by diverse microbes induces anything from mild to severe inflammation. Using single-molecule imaging of TLR4-MyDDosome signaling in living macrophages, we find that MyDDosomes assemble within minutes of TLR4 stimulation.
Bacterial outer membrane lipopolysaccharide (LPS) potently stimulates the mammalian innate immune system, and can lead to sepsis, the primary cause of death from infections. LPS is sensed by Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) in complex with its lipid-binding coreceptor MD-2, but subtle structural variations in LPS can profoundly modulate the response.