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Biochimie. 2013 Jan;95(1):33-42. doi: 10.1016/j.biochi.2012.06.007. Epub 2012 Jun 15.

Bacterial cell wall macroamphiphiles: pathogen-/microbe-associated molecular patterns detected by mammalian innate immune system.

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CNRS, IPBS (Institut de Pharmacologie et de Biologie Structurale), Toulouse, France.


Innate immune system is the first line of host defense against invading microorganisms. It relies on a limited number of germline-encoded pattern recognition receptors that recognize conserved molecular structures of microbes, referred to as pathogen-/microbe-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs/MAMPs). Bacterial cell wall macroamphiphiles, namely Gram-negative bacteria lipopolysaccharide (LPS), Gram-positive bacteria lipoteichoic acid (LTA), lipoproteins and mycobacterial lipoglycans, are important molecules for the physiology of bacteria and evidently meet PAMP/MAMP criteria. They are well suited to innate immune recognition and constitute non-self signatures detected by the innate immune system to signal the presence of an infective agent. They are notably recognized via their lipid anchor by Toll-like receptors (TLRs) 4 or 2. Here, we review our current knowledge of the molecular bases of macroamphiphile recognition by TLRs, with a special emphasis on mycobacterial lipoglycan detection by TLR2.

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