The influx of neutrophils to infection sites is a fundamental step in host defenses against the frequent human pathogen group B Streptococcus (GBS) and other extracellular bacteria. Using a mouse model of GBS-induced peritonitis, we show in this study that the chemokines Cxcl1 and Cxcl2 play distinctive roles in enhancing the recruitment and the antibacterial activities of neutrophils in a manner that is linked to differences in the cellular sources of these mediators. Cell depletion experiments demonstrated that neutrophils make a significant contribution to the in vivo production of Cxcl2 but not Cxcl1. In vitro, neutrophils responded weakly to LPS but released high levels of Cxcl2 after stimulation with GBS or other bacteria. Neutrophil-derived Cxcl2 acted in an autocrinous manner to increase its own production and to enhance antibacterial activities, including the release of oxygen radicals. In both neutrophils and macrophages, the production of Cxcl1/2 largely required the presence of functional UNC93B1, a chaperone protein involved in signaling by endosomal TLRs. Moreover, the phenotype of UNC93B1-defective phagocytes could be recapitulated by the simultaneous absence of TLR7, 9, and 13 but not by the absence of individual TLRs. Collectively, our data show that neutrophils recognize Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria by means of multiple phagosomal TLRs, resulting in de novo synthesis of Cxcl2, amplification of neutrophil recruitment, and potentiation of their antibacterial activities. These data may be useful to devise alternative therapeutic strategies aimed at enhancing the recruitment and the functional activities of polymorphonuclear leukocytes during infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
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