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Gene Expr Patterns. 2002 Dec;2(3-4):311-7.

Tissue and stage-specific expression of the Tolls in Drosophila embryos.

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Institut de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire, UPR 9022 du CNRS, 15, rue René Descartes, 67084 Strasbourg Cedex, France.


The Drosophila transmembrane receptor Toll plays a key role in specifying the dorsoventral axis of the embryo. At later stages of development, it controls the immune response of the fly to fungal and Gram-positive bacterial infections. The Drosophila genome has a total of nine Toll-like genes, including the previously characterized Toll (Toll-1) and 18-wheeler (Toll-2). Here we describe the embryonic expression patterns of the seven Toll-like genes Toll-3 through Toll-9. We find that these genes have distinct expression domains and that their expression is dynamically changing throughout embryonic development. This complex and tissue-specific regulation of Toll-like gene expression strongly suggests a role in embryonic development for most Drosophila Tolls. The evolving picture on the Toll family members in Drosophila contrasts with that of mammalian Toll-like receptors, which are predominantly expressed in immune responsive cells where their activation occurs via microbial structural determinants.

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