Recognition of pathogens by Drosophila Toll or human Toll-like receptors results in translocation of Dorsal or its human homologue NF-kappaB, respectively; in Drosophila, this is followed by the production of antimicrobial peptides serving as antimicrobial effector system of the innate immune response. We investigated whether human Toll-like receptors also mediate induction of the synthesis of antimicrobial peptides. We found that HEK293 cells transfected with Toll-like receptor 2, but not wild-type cells responded to stimulation with bacterial lipoprotein by production of human beta-defensin 2. Furthermore, the human lung epithelial cell line A549 was found to constitutively express Toll-like receptor 2 and to produce beta-defensin 2 in response to bacterial lipoprotein. This response was abrogated by blocking the signaling pathway activated through Toll-like receptors by transfecting the A549 cells with a dominant-negative form of IRAK-2. Thus, exposure of human cells to bacterial lipoprotein elicits production of the antimicrobial peptide beta-defensin 2 through Toll-like receptor 2.