Toll-like receptor function and signaling

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Abstract

Mammals sense pathogen invasion through pattern-recognition receptors. A group of transmembrane proteins, Toll-like receptors (TLRs), play critical roles as pattern-recognition receptors. They are mainly expressed on antigen-presenting cells, such as macrophages or dendritic cells, and their signaling activates antigen-presenting cells to provoke innate immunity and to establish adaptive immunity. Each TLR has common effects, such as inflammatory cytokine induction or upregulation of costimulatory molecule expression, but also has its specific function, exemplified by type I IFN-inducing ability. These immunoadjuvant effects are not only critical in antimicrobial immunity but are also involved in manifestations of autoimmunity. Furthermore, some TLR agonists are now promising therapeutic tools for various immune disorders, including allergy. Therefore understanding molecular mechanisms on TLRs should be quite useful in the development of therapeutic maneuvers against allergy and autoimmune diseases.

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