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J Leukoc Biol. 2000 Apr;67(4):450-6.

Toll-like receptors: a growing family of immune receptors that are differentially expressed and regulated by different leukocytes.

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Department of Immunology, Mario Negri Institute, Milano, Italy. MUZIOM@IRFMN.MNEGRI.IT


Toll is a Drosophila gene essential for ontogenesis and antimicrobial resistance. Several hortologues of Toll have been identified and cloned in vertebrates, namely Toll-like receptors (TLR). Human TLR are a growing family of molecules involved in innate immunity. TLR are structurally characterized by a cytoplasmic Toll/interleukin-1R (TIR) domain and by extracellular leucine-rich repeats. TLR characterized so far activate the MyD88/IRAK signaling cascade, which bifurcates and leads to NF-kappaB and c-Jun/ATF2/TCF activation. Genetic, gene transfer, and dominant-negative approaches have involved TLR family members (TLR2 and TLR4) in lipopolysaccharide recognition and signaling. Accumulating evidence suggests that some TLR molecules are also involved in signaling receptor complexes that recognize components of gram-positive bacteria and mycobacteria. However, the definitive role of other TLR is still lacking. A systematic approach has been used to determine whether different human leukocyte populations selectively or specifically expressed TLR mRNA. Based on expression pattern, TLR can be classified as ubiquitous (TLR1), restricted (TLR2, TLR4, and TLR5), and specific (TLR3). Expression and regulation of distinct though overlapping ligand recognition patterns may underlie the existence of a numerous, seemingly redundant, TLR family. Alternately, the expression of a TLR in a single cell type may indicate a specific role for this molecule in a restricted setting.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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