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Toll-like receptor 21 (TLR21) is a non-mammalian TLR recognizing unmethylated CpG DNA and considered as a functional homolog of mammalian TLR9. In the present study, a TLR21 gene was cloned from turbot, Scophthalmus maximus, its immune responsive expression was subsequently studied in vivo. The turbot (Sm)TLR21 gene is an intronless gene with a length of 3527 bp and encodes a peptide of 984 amino acids. The deduced protein possesses a signal peptide sequence, a leucine-rich repeat (LRR) domain composed of 16 LRR motifs, a transmembrane (TM) region and a Toll/interleukin-1 receptor (TIR) domain. Phylogenetic analysis grouped it with other teleost TLR21s. Quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) analysis demonstrated the constitutive expression of SmTLR21 mRNA in all twelve examined tissues with higher levels in the lymphomyeloid-rich tissues like spleen and head kidney. Further, upon stimulation with polyinosinic: polycytidylic acid [poly(I:C)], turbot reddish body iridovirus (TRBIV) and CpG oligodeoxynucleotides (CpG-ODN) 2395, the SmTLR21 mRNA expression was up-regulated in the gills, head kidney, spleen and muscle. The maximum increases of SmTLR21 transcript levels ranged from 1.3 to 8.1-fold and appeared at 3 h to 5 day post-injection depending on different organs and stimuli. These findings suggest that SmTLR21 may play an important role in the immune responses to the infections of a broad range of pathogens that include RNA and DNA viruses and bacteria.A TLR21 gene was cloned from turbot.SmTLR21 transcripts distributed in all tissues examined with higher levels observed in lymphomyeloid rich tissues.SmTLR21 expression was up-regulated by poly(I:C) and TRBIV in immune and non-immune organs.CpG-ODN 2395 up-regulated SmTLR21 expression only in a late phase of the treatment in some organs.