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Int Rev Immunol. 2011 Feb;30(1):16-34. doi: 10.3109/08830185.2010.529976.

Pathogen recognition by the innate immune system.

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  • 1Laboratory of Host Defense, WPI Immunology Frontier Research Center, Osaka, Japan.


Microbial infection initiates complex interactions between the pathogen and the host. Pathogens express several signature molecules, known as pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs), which are essential for survival and pathogenicity. PAMPs are sensed by evolutionarily conserved, germline-encoded host sensors known as pathogen recognition receptors (PRRs). Recognition of PAMPs by PRRs rapidly triggers an array of anti-microbial immune responses through the induction of various inflammatory cytokines, chemokines and type I interferons. These responses also initiate the development of pathogen-specific, long-lasting adaptive immunity through B and T lymphocytes. Several families of PRRs, including Toll-like receptors (TLRs), RIG-I-like receptors (RLRs), NOD-like receptors (NLRs), and DNA receptors (cytosolic sensors for DNA), are known to play a crucial role in host defense. In this review, we comprehensively review the recent progress in the field of PAMP recognition by PRRs and the signaling pathways activated by PRRs.

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