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Keywords:

  • Innate immunity;
  • Lectin;
  • Signal transduction;
  • Phagocytosis

Abstract

The innate immune system is essential for host defense and is responsible for early detection of potentially pathogenic microorganisms. Upon recognition of microbes by innate immune cells suchas macrophages and dendritic cells, diverse signaling pathways are activated that combine to define inflammatory responses that direct sterilization of the threat and/or orchestrate development of the adaptive immune response. Innate immune signaling must be carefully controlled, and regulation comes in part from interactions between activating and inhibiting signaling receptors. Toll-like receptors (TLR) have recently emerged as key receptors responsible for recognizing specific conserved components of microbes including lipopolysaccharides from Gram-negative bacteria, CpG DNA, and flagellin. Full activation of inflammatory responses by TLR may require the assembly of receptor signaling complexes including other transmembrane proteins that may influence signal transduction. In addition to TLR, many additional receptors participate in innate recognition of microbes, and recent studies demonstrate strong interactions between signaling through these receptors and signaling through TLR. Useful models for these interacting signaling pathways are now emerging and should pave the way for understanding the molecular mechanisms that drive the rich diversity of inflammatory responses.