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Nature. 2008 Mar 13;452(7184):234-8. doi: 10.1038/nature06726. Epub 2008 Feb 27.

UNC93B1 delivers nucleotide-sensing toll-like receptors to endolysosomes.

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Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, 9 Cambridge Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02142, USA.


Signalling by means of toll-like receptors (TLRs) is essential for the development of innate and adaptive immune responses. UNC93B1, essential for signalling of TLR3, TLR7 and TLR9 in both humans and mice, physically interacts with these TLRs in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Here we show that the function of the polytopic membrane protein UNC93B1 is to deliver the nucleotide-sensing receptors TLR7 and TLR9 from the ER to endolysosomes. In dendritic cells of 3d mice, which express an UNC93B1 missense mutant (H412R) incapable of TLR binding, neither TLR7 nor TLR9 exits the ER. Furthermore, the trafficking and signalling defects of the nucleotide-sensing TLRs in 3d dendritic cells are corrected by expression of wild-type UNC93B1. However, UNC93B1 is dispensable for ligand recognition and signal initiation by TLRs. To our knowledge, UNC93B1 is the first protein to be identified as a molecule specifically involved in trafficking of nucleotide-sensing TLRs. By inhibiting the interaction between UNC93B1 and TLRs it should be possible to achieve specific regulation of the nucleotide-sensing TLRs without compromising signalling via the cell-surface-disposed TLRs.

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