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J Immunol. 2011 Jan 15;186(2):649-56. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1002302.

The Drosophila Toll signaling pathway.

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Laboratory of Experimental Immunology, Institute of Medical Technology, University of Tampere, 33014 Tampere, Finland.


The identification of the Drosophila melanogaster Toll pathway cascade and the subsequent characterization of TLRs have reshaped our understanding of the immune system. Ever since, Drosophila NF-κB signaling has been actively studied. In flies, the Toll receptors are essential for embryonic development and immunity. In total, nine Toll receptors are encoded in the Drosophila genome, including the Toll pathway receptor Toll. The induction of the Toll pathway by gram-positive bacteria or fungi leads to the activation of cellular immunity as well as the systemic production of certain antimicrobial peptides. The Toll receptor is activated when the proteolytically cleaved ligand Spatzle binds to the receptor, eventually leading to the activation of the NF-κB factors Dorsal-related immunity factor or Dorsal. In this study, we review the current literature on the Toll pathway and compare the Drosophila and mammalian NF-κB pathways.

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