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Keywords:

  • inflammation;
  • innate immunity;
  • TLR

Summary

The Toll-like receptor (TLR) family provide key components of mammalian immunity and are part of the earliest surveillance mechanisms responding to infection. Their activation triggers the innate immune response, and is crucial to the successful induction of Th1/Th2-phenotyped adaptive immunity. Innate immunity was long considered to be non-specific and somewhat simple compared to adaptive immunity, mediated via the engulfment and lysis of microbial pathogens by phagocytic cells such as macrophages and neutrophils, and involving no complex protein–protein interactions. The emergence of the TLR field has contributed to a revision of our understanding, and innate immunity is now viewed as a highly complex process, in line with adaptive immunity. This review will give a brief overview of our current knowledge of TLR biology, and will focus on TLRs as key components in complex networks that activate, integrate and select the appropriate innate and adaptive immune responses in the face of immunological danger.