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Proc Am Thorac Soc. 2007 Jul;4(3):263-6.

CATERPILLER (NLR) family members as positive and negative regulators of inflammatory responses.

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Department of Microbiology-Immunology, Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7295, USA.


One of the most important advances in human immunology in the last decade has been the characterization of evolutionarily conserved molecular mediators important in controlling innate immunity. A prime example of this is the discovery of the mammalian Toll-like receptor family. Toll molecules were first discovered in Drosophila and were found to protect the organism from fungal infection. In mammals, Toll-like receptors respond to a wide variety of microbial products and serve as a bridge between innate and adaptive immunity. In the last 4 years, another important family of molecules has been discovered, and it is evolutionarily conserved from plants to humans. This family was first christened CATERPILLER by our laboratory, and is also known as NBD-LRR or NLR. CATERPILLER family members have rapidly gained prominence as important regulators of inflammatory responses to pathogens and their products. This article discusses some of the members of this family and their role in human disease.

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