The ability to differentiate genetically modified mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells into functional macrophages provides a potentially attractive resource to study host-pathogen interactions without the need for animal experimentation. This is particularly useful in instances where the gene of interest is essential and a knockout mouse is not available. Here we differentiated mouse ES cells into macrophages in vitro and showed, through a combination of flow cytometry, microscopic imaging, and RNA-Seq, that ES cell-derived macrophages responded to S. Typhimurium, in a comparable manner to mouse bone marrow derived macrophages. We constructed a homozygous mutant mouse ES cell line in the Traf2 gene that is known to play a role in tumour necrosis factor-Î± signalling but has not been studied for its role in infections or response to Toll-like receptor agonists. Interestingly, traf2-deficient macrophages produced reduced levels of inflammatory cytokines in response to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or flagellin stimulation and exhibited increased susceptibility to S. Typhimurium infection.
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