TLR2: cellular sensor for microbial and endogenous molecular patterns

Curr Top Microbiol Immunol. 2002;270:121-44. doi: 10.1007/978-3-642-59430-4_8.


Toll-like receptor (TLR) 2 is a member of the vertebrate protein family of TLRs that has been studied in substantial detail over the last years. The extracellular domain of the type I receptor molecule TLR2 contains 18 to 20 leucine rich repeat (LRR) and LRR like motives. The intracellular domain of TLR2 contains a Toll/IL-1 receptor/resistance protein typical TIR domain. After the first implication of TLR4 in immunity thereinafter followed by the discovery of the lipopolysaccharide signal transducer function of TLR4, TLR2 was the first of ten mammalian TLRs proven to be directly involved in recognition of pathogen associated molecular patterns (PAMPs). Among the TLR2 specific agonists are microbial products representing broad groups of species such as Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, as well as mycobacteria, spirochetes, and mycoplasm. PAMP induced phagosomal localization of TLR2 and TLR2 dependent apoptosis have been shown. Complex formation with other molecules involved in pattern recognition such as CD14, MD2, TLR1, and TLR6 has been implicated for TLR2. Surprisingly even proteinaceous host material such as heat shock protein (HSP) 60 has been demonstrated to activate cells through TLR2. Thus, TLR2 may be a sensor and inductor of specific defense processes, including oxidative stress and cellular necrosis initially spurred by microbial compounds. Here we summarize the current knowledge on the structure and function of TLR2, which is far from being complete. Detailed understanding of the biology of TLR2 will probably contribute to the characterization of a number of infectious diseases and potentially help in the development of novel intervention strategies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Drosophila Proteins*
  • Drosophila melanogaster
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Humans
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / genetics
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / immunology*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / genetics
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / immunology*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Toll-Like Receptor 1
  • Toll-Like Receptor 2
  • Toll-Like Receptor 4
  • Toll-Like Receptor 5
  • Toll-Like Receptors
  • Vertebrates


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • TLR2 protein, human
  • TLR4 protein, human
  • Toll-Like Receptor 1
  • Toll-Like Receptor 2
  • Toll-Like Receptor 4
  • Toll-Like Receptor 5
  • Toll-Like Receptors
  • tehao protein, Drosophila