Diversity and evolution of TIR-domain-containing proteins in bivalves and Metazoa: New insights from comparative genomics
The Toll/interleukin-1 receptor (TIR) domain has a fundamental role in the innate defence response of plants, vertebrate and invertebrate animals. Mostly found in the cytosolic side of membrane-bound receptor proteins, it mediates the intracellular signalling upon pathogen recognition via heterotypic interactions. Although a number of TIR-domain-containing (TIR-DC) proteins have been characterized in vertebrates, their evolutionary relationships and functional role in protostomes are still largely unknown. Due to the high abundance and diversity of TIR-DC proteins in bivalve molluscs, we investigated this class of marine invertebrates as a case study. The analysis of the available genomic and transcriptomic data allowed the identification of over 400 full-length sequences and their classification in protein families based on sequence homology and domain organization. In addition to TLRs and MyD88 adaptors, bivalves possess a surprisingly large repertoire of intracellular TIR-DC proteins, which are conserved across a broad range of metazoan taxa. Overall, we report the expansion and diversification of TIR-DC proteins in several invertebrate lineages and the identification of many novel protein families possibly involved in both immune-related signalling and embryonic development.