Toll receptors in insects, mammals and plants are key players that sense the invasion of pathogens. Toll-like receptors (TLRs) in mammals have been established to detect specific components of bacterial and fungal pathogens. Furthermore, recent evidence indicates that TLRs are involved in the recognition of viral invasion. Signalling pathways via TLRs originate from the conserved Toll/IL-1 receptor (TIR) domain. The TIR domain-containing MyD88 acts as a common adaptor that induces inflammatory cytokines; however, there exists a MyD88-independent pathway that induces type I IFNs in TLR4 and TLR3 signalling. Another TIR domain-containing adaptor, TIRAP/Mal has recently been shown to mediate the MyD88-dependent activation in the TLR4 and TLR2 signalling pathway. Thus, individual TLRs may have their own signalling systems that characterize their specific activities.