Adaptive Evolution in TRIF Leads to Discordance between Human and Mouse Innate Immune Signaling

Edel M Hyland, Andrew E Webb, Kathy F Kennedy, Z Nevin Gerek Ince, Christine E Loscher, Mary J O'Connell

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The TIR domain-containing adapter inducing IFN-β (TRIF) protein is an innate immune system protein that mediates the MyD88-independent toll-like receptor response pathway in mice and humans. Previously, we identified positive selection at seven distinct residues in mouse TRIF (mTRIF), as compared with human and other mammalian orthologs, thus predicting protein functional shift in mTRIF. We reconstructed TRIF for the most recent common ancestor of mouse and human, and mutated this at the seven sites to their extant mouse/human states. We overexpressed these TRIF mutants in immortalized human and mouse cell lines and monitored TRIF-dependent cytokine production and gene expression induction. We show that optimal TRIF function in human and mouse is dependent on the identity of the positively selected sites. These data provide us with molecular data relating observed differences in response between mouse and human MyD88-independent signaling in the innate immune system with protein functional change.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberevab268
Number of pages11
JournalGenome biology and evolution
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 06 Dec 2021


  • ancestral gene resurrection
  • positive selection
  • innate immune signaling


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