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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The Functional Effects of Physical Interactions among Toll-like Receptors 7, 8, and 9.

Toll-like receptors (TLRs) TLR1, TLR2, TLR4, and TLR6 are evolutionarily conserved, highly homologous, and localized to plasma membranes of host cells and recognize pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) derived from bacterial membranes. These receptors cooperate in a pairwise combination to elicit or inhibit the inflammatory signals in response to certain PAMPs. The other TLRs that are evolutionarily closely related and highly homologous are TLR7, TLR8, and TLR9. They are all confined to the membranes of endosomes and recognize similar molecular structures, the oligonucleotide-based PAMPs. However, the cooperative interactions among these receptors that may modulate the inflammatory signaling in response to their cognate agonists are not reported. We report here for the first time the functional effects of one TLR on the other among TLR7, TLR8, and TLR9. The results indicate that TLR8 inhibits TLR7 and TLR9, and TLR9 inhibits TLR7 but not vice versa in HEK293 cells transfected with TLRs in a pairwise combination. This is concluded by selectively activating one TLR over the other by using small molecule TLR agonists. We also show that these inhibitory interactions are the result of direct or indirect physical interactions between the TLRs. The murine TLR8 that does not respond to any known human TLR8 agonists also inhibits both murine and human TLR7. The implications of the inhibitory interactions among these TLRs in host-pathogen recognition and subsequent inflammatory responses are not obvious. However, given the complexity in expression pattern in a particular cell type and the variation in distribution and response to different pathogens and stress signals in different cell types, the inhibitory physical interactions among these TLRs may play a role in balancing the inflammatory outcome from a given cell type to a specific challenge.[1]


  1. The Functional Effects of Physical Interactions among Toll-like Receptors 7, 8, and 9. Wang, J., Shao, Y., Bennett, T.A., Shankar, R.A., Wightman, P.D., Reddy, L.G. J. Biol. Chem. (2006) [Pubmed]
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