Tolerance to bacterial cell wall components including bacterial lipoprotein (BLP) represents an essential regulatory mechanism during bacterial infection. Reduced Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) and IL-1 receptor-associated kinase 1 (IRAK-1) expression is a characteristic of the downregulated TLR signaling pathway observed in BLP-tolerised cells. In this study, we attempted to clarify whether TLR2 and/or IRAK-1 are the key molecules responsible for BLP-induced tolerance. Transfection of HEK293 cells and THP-1 cells with the plasmid encoding TLR2 affected neither BLP tolerisation-induced NF-κB deactivation nor BLP tolerisationattenuated pro-inflammatory cytokine tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) production, indicating that BLP tolerance develops despite overexpression of TLR2 in these cells. In contrast, overexpression of IRAK-1 reversed BLP-induced tolerance, as transfection of IRAK-1 expressing vector resulted in a dose-dependent NF-κB activation and TNF-α release in BLP-tolerised cells. Furthermore, BLP-tolerised cells exhibited markedly repressed NF-κB p65 phosphorylation and impaired binding of p65 to several pro-inflammatory cytokine gene promoters including TNF-α and interleukin-6 (IL-6). Overexpression of IRAK-1 restored the nuclear transactivation of p65 at both TNF-α and IL-6 promoters. These results indicate a crucial role for IRAK-1 in BLP-induced tolerance, and suggest IRAK-1 as a potential target for manipulation of the TLR-mediated inflammatory response during microbial sepsis.