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Trends Cell Biol. 2001 Jul;11(7):304-11.

Toll receptors in innate immunity.

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  • 1Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology, CNRS, 15 rue RenĂ© Descartes, 67084 Cedex, Strasbourg, France.


Innate immunity is the first-line host defense of multicellular organisms that rapidly operates to limit infection upon exposure to infectious agents. In addition, the cells and molecules operating during this early stage of the immune response in vertebrates have a decisive impact on the shaping of the subsequent adaptive response. Genetic studies initially performed in the fruitfly Drosophila and later in mice have revealed the importance of proteins of the Toll family in the innate immune response. We present here our current understanding of the role of this evolutionary ancient family of proteins that are thought to function as cytokine receptors (Toll in Drosophila) or pattern-recognition receptors (TLRs in mammals) and activate similar, albeit non-identical, signal-transduction pathways in flies and mammals.

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